Okehampton salmon farm protest hits the water

DOCK DISSENT: People gather in Hobart for the FloatMo protest. Picture: Contributed.
DOCK DISSENT: People gather in Hobart for the FloatMo protest. Picture: Contributed.

The Okehampton Bay salmon farm was the focus for a fleet of protesters in Hobart on Sunday as they took their concerns to the water as part of the FloatMo event.

A variety of vessels lined Hobart’s Constitution Dock to speak out against proposed salmon fishing on the East Coast of the state.

It follows a report by the Marine Farm Planning Review Panel earlier in the year, which gave Tassal the go ahead for the project, despite sustainability concerns from environmental groups.

Greens leader Cassy O’Connor was among the attendees at the protest and said the message to the government was clear.

“People believe in the clean, clear waters of East Coast and they want the area to be fish farm free,” she said.

Marine Protection Tasmania co vice president Jim Playstead said there didn’t seem to be any middle ground when it came to the state’s salmon fishing industry.

“In Tasmania, we seem to have the best and the worst of the salmon farming industries,” he said.

“We’ve got some of the world’s leading firms doing amazing engineering and creating offshore pens that are already in operation.

“You have to wonder why we’ve also got the bottom of the class and a complicit government that can’t seem to tell the difference.”

The government recently announced a ban on salmon fishing beyond the existing Okehampton Bay lease into the Mercury Passage of the East Coast.

In a statement published on the Premier’s Facebook page, Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff said the concerns surrounding the site were not being ignored.

“What we are doing is working with the Tasmanian community and the industry to develop a sustainable industry growth plan,” he said.