The government has dismissed fears new marine research legislation provides a loophole for deep water fin-fish farming developments.
A government bill to allow for marine research in Commonwealth waters off Tasmania was passed in the House of Assembly on Tuesday with only the Greens voting against it.
Resources Minister Guy Barnett said research was expected to be initially undertaken by the Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre based in Launceston to determine what would be required ahead of a move to commercial-scale fish farming.
"The bill advances a long-held aspiration for state and territory jurisdictions to regulate and manage aquaculture in adjacent Commonwealth waters," he said.
"Over time, we intend to develop the potential legislative and regulatory framework and administrative processes needed to provide for commercial-scale marine aquaculture industries to operate in Commonwealth waters.
"This legislation is intentionally only a first step, ensuring the research work is done before there is any decision with the Commonwealth on commercial activity."
Greens environment spokeswoman Rosalie Woodruff attempted to move for the bill to be withdrawn and redrafted which was rejected by the Liberals and Labor.
Dr Woodruff questioned how research permits interfaced with state planning and animal welfare laws and permit parameters around research zones.
Mr Barnett said a research permit would be enforced for up to 12 months which limited activities in a particular research zone.
He said the bill would ensure the research conducted was consistent with state animal welfare and biosecurity laws.
Mr Barnett said an application for commercial activity would need to be made and decided upon under other existing state and Commonwealth legislation as was the case now.
Labor's Shane Broad said the marine research bill offered potential for more offshore salmon farming without the need for land-based salmon farming to be relied upon.
"The bill allows for the biggest economic opportunity in Tasmania bar none," Dr Broad said.
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