A NEW inquiry into the salmon industry has been called for, just three years after a Senate inquiry.
Murchison independent MLC Ruth Forrest is calling for the inquiry, which she wants to focus on the law and regulations for the industry.
She said the aim was to make sure the industry was sustainable in the long term, so it would keep providing jobs and contributing to the state’s economy.
A TASMANIAN MP wants a new inquiry into the salmon industry to focus on the regulatory framework.
Murchison independent MLC Ruth Forrest says she wants to ensure the protection and sustainability of the marine farming industry, the wild fishery and the natural environment.
She will move for an inquiry when parliament resumes on June 12. Ms Forrest wants the inquiry to examine the adequacy and efficacy of the currentlegislative and regulatory framework.
“The marine farming industry contributes significantly to the Tasmanian economy and provides many jobs,” she said.
“These jobs are of little long term value unless they operate in a sustainable way.”
She says she has broad support from the industry and other key stakeholders for the inquiry which would also look at the functions and powers of the Marine Farming Planning Review Panel and the impacts of the salmon industry on existing fisheries including crayfish, abalone, shark and scalefish.
In 2015 a Senate select committee strongly supported Tasmania’s salmon industry and made only three recommendations for minor improvements.
“The Senate inquiry was three years and there have been a lot of challenges since” Ms Forrest said.
“The recent decisions of the Environment Protection Authority would suggest we have been slow to act and we need to know more about the rigour of current processes in light of this.”
Ms Forrest said all stakeholders needed certainty that the regulatory framework in which the industry operated was “robust, scientific, evidence based and transparent”
“I believe marine farming can co-exist with the wild fishery, however effective regulation of both is necessary,” she said.
“Most people I speak to recognise the employment opportunities and support marine farming provided it is regulated in such a way that the natural environment is not adversely impacted and the wild fishery, which we all rely on, is not harmed.
“I support this view. However, I share the concern of the majority of Tasmanians that the currently regulatory framework needs review andmay need to change to ensure the future of both the industry and wild fishery.”
Ms Forrest said she believed the Federal Government was planning to delegate some of the monitoring approval processes to the States.
“This will require legislative change at a Federal and State level so an inquiry would be very timely,” she said.
“An inquiry would ensure a thorough, rigorous and transparent approach using independent scientific evidence is used in future.
“The future of the industry and the natural environment depend on this.”