The state government of Tasmania has decided not to abolish the Marine Farming Planning Review Panel – the independent board that assesses salmon farms.
The Panel was on a list of 12 boards the Government planned to scrap in order to save money and reduce “red and green tape”.
The decision was confirmed by Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Primary Industries and Water.
“The Government is committed to making sure our aquaculture industry continues to be a world leader and a job creator for Tasmania, balancing our sustainable salmon industry with other fisheries while ensuring we protect our marine environment,” the Minister said in a news release.
Mr Rockliff said the decision to retain the Panel was reached after consultation with key stakeholders including the aquaculture industry.
“After consultation with stakeholders, including industry, the Government has decided that the operation of the Marine Farming Planning Review Panel can be streamlined to find efficiencies and savings, and as a result it will not be abolished,” the Minister said.
“The Government’s aim has always been to make sure that boards and committees are effective, efficient and deliver the best possible service to Tasmania at the lowest possible cost. We are committed to achieving our objective of reducing board and committee costs and we are on target to deliver on this commitment.”
The announcement comes as a Senate committee launches an inquiry into Tasmanian fisheries and the environmental impacts of salmon farming.
The Greens spokesperson for Fisheries, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, has welcomed the Senate voting to establish an Inquiry into the sustainability of Tasmania’s salmon farms.
“This Inquiry will help shine some light on some of the murky information that has recently surfaced regarding the sustainability of salmon farms in Tasmania. In the last few days we have heard publicly from former employees, the abalone industry and a mussel grower about the impacts of salmon farms but the state government continues to deny that there are any issues,” said Mr Whish-Wilson in a media release.
“A Senate Inquiry will provide the perfect opportunity for all stakeholders to have a voice and lay facts on the table. I am looking forward to hearing from industry, regulators, scientists and members of the community about any issues in the sector and what is being done to address them. This Inquiry is an opportunity to make sure we get things right in the salmon industry from both an environmental and long-term viability point of view.”