The Director of the Environment Protection Authority, Mr Wes Ford, has set the biomass limit for salmonids (salmon and trout) in Macquarie Harbour at 9,500 tonnes for the next two years, a reduction of 21 percent on the current limit.
Mr Ford said that he had yesterday advised the three salmon companies that he had set the peak biomass for the for the period 1 June 2018 to 31 May 2020 at 10.26 tonnes per hectare, which equates to 9,500 tonnes.
The biomass limit has been reduced from 12,000 tonnes, equating to 13 tonnes per hectare, a reduction of 21 percent. This means that the 2018 year class smolt introduction to the harbour will be 21 percent less than the number of fish that went to sea in 2017.
“While the harbour is showing signs of recovery due to the strong seawater surges bringing in oxygen rich seawater and a general improvement in the health of the benthic environment, this further reduction was warranted to reduce the pressure on the harbour and allow for further recovery," Mr Ford said.
In his Statement of Reasons, Mr Ford said that the determination is based on consideration of the current environmental status of the harbour, of which there were a number of areas of concern, including sub-surface dissolved oxygen conditions.
“My view is that it is prudent to adopt an approach which reduces the biomass for a sufficient time to allow harbour response to be monitored and interpreted meaningfully," Mr Ford said.
Mr Ford's Statement of Reasons for the determination of the peak biomass for the for the period 1 June 2018 to 31 May 2020 is available here