Tasmanian Fish Farming Goes Deeper Offshore

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Article heading image for Tasmanian Fish Farming Goes Deeper Offshore

Mathew Farrell

The development of an offshore aquaculture industry in Tasmanian waters is set to be 'examined' in a memorandum of understanding between the federal and state governments.

Spearheaded by the Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), the feasibility study will investigate the potential of fish farming more than 3 nautical miles out to sea.

The Hobart Briefing

With the state government focused on moving farms onto land and offshore, Assistant Federal Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Senator Jonathon Duniam said it's a project he is proud to be working on.

“The outcomes of this work won’t just be about Tasmania. This will provide valuable information on the potential for offshore aquaculture for all states and territories.”

“Currently, aquaculture in Australia is operated in state or territory waters and by moving further offshore – more than three nautical miles – we can harness recent technological improvements and investigate the potential environmental and resource access benefits available from undertaking aquaculture in deeper waters,’’ Senator Duniam said.


A welcomed investment into the industry, 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 trial will be delivered in the Bass Strait, looking into the feasibility of farming salmon and other animals in deeper water. 

CEO of Blue Economy CRC Dr John Whittington believes Commonwealth waters need to be utilised to their full potential. 

"This is bold, its innovative and the vision is for marine farming offshore in Commonwealth waters, oceanic waters, rough waters...beyond the horizon"

- Dr John Whittington

However, not everyone is overjoyed by the project, with Tasmanians deeply divided over aquaculture after the release of 'Toxic' by award winning author Richard Flanagan, exposing aspects of the salmon farming industry that were not flattering.

Federal Green senator Federal Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said a free pass to the ocean is not the governments to give.

"A global tide of marine plastic, climate change, and invasive species are putting radical pressures on the marine environment,"

- MP Peter Whish-Wilson

"We are very concerned at this national push to farm our oceans when they already face such enormous pressures," he said. 

Last month the Tasmanian government released a 10-year salmon farming plan effective 2023, delivering no net increases to the state’s fish farm leased areas.


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Hit News Team

27 September 2021

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