Offshore marine aquaculture research a step closer

Posted on December 2, 2021

An important milestone for Tasmania’s aquaculture industry was achieved today with the House of Assembly passing legislation to allow for marine research in Commonwealth waters off the coast of Tasmania.

Tasmania is already home to Australia’s largest aquaculture sector and it is fitting we are leading the National Aquaculture Strategy, put in place in 2017.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government wants to maximise the potential opportunity for Tasmania from offshore aquaculture for all potential species, including finfish, shellfish and seaweeds.

During debate today, the Greens tried to have the Living Marine Resources Management Act (Aquaculture Research) Bill 2021 withdrawn and made clear they do not support investigating the opportunities for aquaculture in deeper waters – despite the benefits this might bring economically and environmentally.

The Tasmanian Government is taking a considered approach, including only allowing research projects that are for a fixed-term, of limited scale and in a defined research area.

Through this research, which is expected to be initially undertaken by the Launceston-based Blue Economy CRC, we can work to understand what is feasible, what is sustainable and what policy settings would be needed ahead of moving to commercial-scale activity.

Despite this science-based approach, the anti-jobs Greens simply want to see the industry shut down with thousands of jobs lost in regional Tasmania.

The Government will also develop 10-year Salmon Plan during the next 12 months which includes a key principle of innovation, including prospects for the industry to grow sustainably in deeper, 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.

And, importantly, it shows that this Government wants to work with the salmon industry and the whole aquaculture sector to support sustainable growth so it can keep delivering jobs for Tasmanians and support our reputation as a sustainable high quality food producer.

The Tasmanian Liberal Government will continue to look for innovative sustainable growth options for our world-leading aquaculture industry to help secure Tasmania’s future.

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