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Garland tells Petuna the local community will fight salmon plan

The Advertiser 2019-04-16 10:06:00

TOMORROW, independent Senate candidate Craig Garland will be telling shoppers at the busy Sydney Fish Market not to buy Tasmanian farmed salmon because of its impact on this State’s traditional fishing grounds and the marine environment.

When he returns, the commercial fisherman turned political hopeful will turn his focus back to one of his main campaigns — stopping the expansion of fish farming into waters off Tasmania’s far North-West.

The Petuna Group is two years into what is expected to be a three-year study with the aim of farming salmon in a 400ha area, 27km north of Stanley.

So far the company has spent between one and two million dollars researching the area’s potential and CEO Ruben Alvarez says so far the business case is stacking up with optimal temperature, current and wave size conditions recorded.


The company had a stand at the recent Stanley Show to provide information about its plans and Mr Alvarez said the feedback from the community was quite positive.

“We want to be open about this process. We do not have anything to hide,” Mr Alvarez said today after he met with Mr Garland in Wynyard.

“The scrutiny of this industry is intense.

“Tasmanians should feel proud of the industry and the product it produces, which is among the best salmon in the world.”

Mr Alvarez said he respected Mr Garland’s opinion and the meeting had been productive.

“What we need is science to take the emotion and opinion out of the debate and to debunk misinformation, such as that the product we feed our salmon is full of toxins and hormones,” he said.

“I can offer Mr Garland a sample and he can test it.”

He said if Petuna decided to go ahead with its proposal to farm fish off Circular Head it would then need to gain approval through the environmental impact process.

Mr Garland said the first that the North-West community heard about Petuna’s plans to put salmon pens off Stanley — between Three Hummock Island and North Point — was on the evening news.

It was August, 2017 and Deputy Premier, then Primary Industry Minister, Jeremy Rockliff, announced offshore areas around Circular Head and King Island had been identified as possible “grow zones” for the salmon industry.

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Mr Rockliff said the government was expecting “strong community support” for the introduction of fish farming to the state’s far North-West.

Mr Garland said that the comment was not only highly presumptuous but wrong.


“The community and both commercial and recreational fishers do not want them there,” Mr Garland said.

“You can hardly say the salmon industry has a good track record — just look at Storm Bay and Macquarie Harbour.

“The government continues to think it can hand out areas of our ocean to corporations without giving the community a seat at the table.

“Let me tell you, if Petuna presses ahead with these plans they will have a fight on their hands.

“The pens would be smack bang in the middle of a prime nursery for shark, octopus and scallops. If I am not elected to the Senate I plan to launch a private legal fight to stop fish farms being established in these waters.”

helen.kempton@news.com.au

Originally published as Local fish fight heading to Sydney