Tasmania makes new appointments to salmon farm review panel after experts quit

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New board after experts leave over site approvals.

Last November, Professor Barbara Nowak, Louise Cherrie and Lia Morris resigned from the panel after 30,000 tonnes of farmed salmon operations were greenlit in Storm Bay, Tasmania, Australia. Morris was not listed as being part of the decision-making for the Huon and Tassal expansion approvals.

Their resignation letters were at the centre of a report by ABC news – who had requested them in a Freedom of Information requestion. However, those letters were heavily redacted and were subsequently leaked in full.

ABC reports the full list of concerns specifically related to the Storm Bay approval:

  • There was no detailed biogeochemical model upon which to determine carrying capacity and nutrient transfer with the lower Derwent Estuary
  • There was no government-endorsed biosecurity plan
  • There was no regulatory guideline to define the standards to which operators should be held
  • The proposed adaptive management strategy did not provide the required assurances and the gathering of additional information proved difficult
  • The natural values of Storm Bay were not mapped and considered, including the amenity owed to communities

On Friday, Minister for Primary Industries and Water Guy Barnett announced the appointment of four new members to the Marine Farming Planning Review Panel.

“The new members bring expertise and experience in the areas of planning, environmental management, fish health and biosecurity, as well as boating, recreational and navigational issues. The Hodgman Liberal Government supports responsible and sustainable growth in the salmon industry, providing thousands of jobs, many of which are in regional areas.

“To enable this we have a rigorous assessment, planning and regulatory framework in place, and the independent Marine Farming Planning Review Panel, with its broad range of expertise, is an important component of this process,” he wrote.

The new members are:

  • Dr Jo Fearman (environmental management): Dr Fearman has a PhD in marine ecology and is currently involved in marine industries as an environmental consultant and through a boat building business.
  • Dr Rod Andrewartha (fish health and biosecurity): Dr Andrewartha was the former Chief Veterinary Officer for Tasmania until his retirement last year.
  • Mr Terry Long (boating, recreational and navigational issues):  a Tasmanian recreational boater with familiarity with cruising and racing issues as well as a thorough knowledge of navigation.
  • Mr Mitchell Clark (planning issues) as nominated by the Tasmanian Planning Commission.