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Offshore aquaculture to be "examined"


The development of an offshore aquaculture industry in Commonwealth waters off the coast of Tasmania has moved a step closer, after a new pact between the state and federal governments

The Memorandum of Understanding will examine the feasibility of fish farming more than 3 nautical miles out to sea.

It's to be headed up by the Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), an independent not-for-profit company funded under the Australian Government’s CRC Program.

“Aquaculture is currently worth $1.6 billion nationally and is growing both here and globally.  By going offshore, the Australian Government is backing growth towards the $100 billion Ag2030 goal," Assistant Federal Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Senator Jonathon Duniam said.

“I couldn’t be prouder to be working with the Tasmanian Government on this project.”

Last month the Tasmanian Government announced it would develop a 10 year plan for the industry, with research focused on moving farms onto land and offshore.

But the latest announcement has drawn scepticism from the Tasmanian Alliance for Marine Protection.

"The ministers’ promise to explore unproven deep-ocean technology while doing nothing to stop the salmon industry pouring thousands of tonnes of untreated sewage into coastal waters is nothing more than window dressing for a toxic industry," TAMP Co-Chair Peter George said.

"It’s yet another failed attempt at sleight of hand - asking Tasmanians to look out over the horizon when the cause of the smell is right under their noses."

The Tasmanian Salmonid Growers Association has welcomed the development.

"Whether it’s finfish, seaweed, shellfish, new species or integrated multi-trophic farms, this provides a new frontier for responsible growth of Australian aquaculture to match the growing Australian and global consumer demand for healthy farmed seafood," TSGA Facilitator Julian Amos said.

"The salmon industry in Tasmania has always been innovative in its approach, in freshwater hatcheries, and sea farming. Our industry currently operates in the world’s most wild waters and we look forward to continuing our work with the BE CRC to ensure blue water offshore operations are good for the stock, the environment and that the workforce remains safe."