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EPA issues guidelines for Macquarie Harbour fish waste collection system

​The EPA has issued environmental guidelines for the development of a waste collection system under fish pens in Macquarie Harbour.

On Thursday 25 May, EPA Director, Mr Wes Ford issued the Guidelines for Salmonid Aquaculture Waste Capture Systems, Macquarie Harbour, May 2017 to the three companies operating in Macquarie Harbour.

Mr Ford said the Guidelines specifically set out what the EPA requires from Tassal in an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for its proposed under-pen waste capture system in the Harbour.

"Tassal’s EMP is required prior to me making my final determinations for Macquarie Harbour, which I intend to announce late next week," said Mr Ford.

"The final determinations will include the peak biomass limit for Macquarie Harbour, stocking of 2017 year-class of fish and any arrangements for waste collection," he said.

Mr Ford stated that the effective trial and operation of an under-pen WCS would be a requirement for Tassal if it is to continue to grow its existing 2016 year-class of fish to commercial harvest size. He made this proviso when announcing the draft determinations on Friday 5 May, which lowered the peak biomass to 12,000 tonnes.

"The EPA sought input on the draft guidelines from both Petuna and Huon Aquaculture, as well as Tassal, and received expert advice from Biosecurity Tasmania regarding fish health.

"The EPA’s Guidelines take account of a range of scientific, technical and project management information, and specify exactly what the EMP must cover.

"This includes all the detail about the WCS, its design, how its effectiveness will be measured, and the precise locations and timeframes for the trial.

"The EMP must also provide information about the environmental and project risks, and the proposed risk management by the company," he said.

"Tassal’s EMP for the WCS must also cover the EPA’s requirements for monitoring, testing, reporting and consultation, and detail other information on biosecurity, fish health and social aspects," said Mr Ford.

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.