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EPA increases monitoring for Okehampton Bay marine farming licence

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has increased the environmental monitoring requirements under a variation of Tassal’s Marine Farming Licence at Okehampton Bay.

Following a review of the comprehensive baseline survey conducted by Tassal in July 2017, the EPA Director, Mr Wes Ford, has amended the Marine Farming Licence conditions to increase the monitoring and reporting requirements by the company in line with contemporary management requirements.

Mr Ford said that the inclusion of a robust and comprehensive monitoring program was important for detecting potential impacts on ecosystem health at an early stage, and enabling adaptive and responsive management actions to prevent significant impacts.

"The stringent environmental monitoring and reporting conditions on the licence require additional monitoring at far-field sites as well as those close to the lease boundary," said Mr Ford.

"They include water quality, benthic infauna and sediment monitoring as well as surveys of seagrass beds and reefs which may be located within the area of impact," he said.

"The increased monitoring regime also includes more frequent video surveys under pen bays and along the lease boundary.

"Also included is a requirement for publicly available Annual Environmental Reports to be prepared by Tassal, and modelling of water dispersion and sediment distribution to be undertaken wihtin one year of stocking the lease.

"In addition to introducing more extensive monitoring by the company, the EPA will be undertaking independent water quality monitoring in Okehampton Bay and Mercury Passage for the next 12 months at least in order to validate Tassal’s monitoring data," he said.

"The EPA’s monitoring commenced today and will be undertaken on a monthly basis, and we will aim to publish biannual reports of this data via the EPA website," said Mr Ford.

A copy of the varied Marine Farming Licence No 236 issued under the Living Marine Resources Management Act 1995 by the EPA Director on 21 August 2017 and a link to the Baseline Environmental Assessment Final Report July 2017 prepared by Tassal are available on the EPA website at www.epa.tas.gov.au/regulation/salmon-aquaculture/okehampton-bay

The Environment Protection Authority acknowledges the Tasmanian Aboriginal people as the traditional custodians of lutruwita (Tasmania) and pays respect to their Elders, past and present.