A Tasmanian Legislative Council committee is set to investigate the regulation and monitoring of the state's fish farming industry in a new inquiry to be opened for submissions at the weekend.
After a Senate inquiry in 2015 gave broad support to the state government's oversight of the sector - and drew dueling claims of politicisation - salmon companies have questioned the need for another, but say they will co-operate fully.
The new inquiry's chair, Independent Nelson MLC Meg Webb, has described it as an "opportunity" to look at regulation and hear from stakeholders including scientific experts, the industry and community.
"Fin fish farming is an important industry for our state and we want to see it appropriately regulated and monitored," she said Thursday.
IN OTHER NEWS
The Inquiry into Fin Fish Farming in Tasmania will focus on data collection and biosecurity progress in the roll-out of the industry's sustainable growth plan. Further scrutiny will be applied to marine farming development approvals, lease allocations, and prevention of environmental harm.
A spokesperson for the Tasmanian Salmonid Growers Association said the "expense of a formal inquiry" was not necessary, after briefing upper house members in June. "But [we] will certainly participate to further show our transparency."
Primary Industries Minister Guy Barnett said the industry was already "well regulated" but respected the committee's right to hold the inquiry.
A previous push by Murchison Independent MLC Ruth Forrest was voted down by the upper house last year.
Tasmanian Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson, who initiated the 2015 probe, was contacted for comment.
That inquiry was sparked by leaked emails which brought to light "serious allegations" around regulation, Mr Whish-Wilson wrote in his dissenting report. He also criticised the three recommendations as "weak".
The state government and opposition united in condemning that inquiry as a waste of money. Both they and Mr Whish-Wilson claimed it had been politicised.
But beyond the Senate inquiry, the sector has come under intense public scrutiny in recent times.
In November last year, a flotilla of up to 60 vessels protested Huon Aquaculture's move into Norfolk Bay. In a July report published by the Australia Institute, the progressive think-tank revealed the state government may have missed out on millions of dollars in potential revenue from the rapid growth of the fish farm industry.
A high-profile appeal against a Federal Court decision to allow Tassal to operate a fish farm in Okehampton Bay was partially upheld in April. While the industry's use of beanbag ammunition and small underwater explosives to protect both fish and staff from threatened seal species has also been questioned.
While you're with us, you can now sign up to receive breaking news updates and daily headlines direct to your inbox. Sign up here.