The Environment Protection Authority Director, Mr Wes Ford, has approved the Joint Venture between Tassal and Petuna Aquaculture to undertake partial and limited stocking of the Franklin marine farming lease (MF266) in Macquarie Harbour from July 2018 until May 2019.
Mr Ford directed Tassal to destock the lease in November 2016, and this was completed by April 2017.
The lease has not been stocked since then and Tassal have undertaken regular environmental monitoring to track the lease's recovery.
The new Joint Venture arrangement between Tassal and Petuna Aquaculture will place the operational management of seven leases with Petuna, and Mr Ford has agreed to open the lease MF266 to allow Petuna to commence stocking it, subject to licence restrictions.
These conditions limit the area of the lease to the proposed new grid system; increase the compliance monitoring to monthly; and place a limitation on biomass and feed input.
Mr Ford said that the lease is 120 hectares in size and was designed to operate in two halves, and the approval allows Petuna to farm salmon on the parts of the lease not used by Tassal previously.
The approval is subject to the following conditions:
- All other areas of the lease to remain under a fallow direction and must not be re-stocked without approval.
- Any additional areas of the lease would require pre-stocking approval from the Director.
- Stocking approval is only granted for the period 9 July 2018 to 31 May 2019.
- A maximum biomass limit of 3000 tonnes will apply for the lease.
- A total feed input limit of 4500 tonnes is set for the July 2018 – May 2019 period.
- Visual compliance monitoring at designated compliance points to be undertaken monthly.
- Full compliance surveys to be undertaken in September 2018, January 2019 and May 2019, as per existing requirements.
The new Joint Venture arrangement will manage the combined biomass allocation of both companies, covering 75% of the biomass allocated for salmonid farming in the harbour.
Petuna Aquaculture have sought to implement a stocking plan that will see the 2018 year class of salmon placed on the lease MF266, and then moved to the western leases during Autumn 2019.
This will result in lease MF266 receiving around 37.5% of the feed that it received when Tassal's 2015 year class was on the lease.
Petuna is seeking to fallow its eastern most lease, which has recently been de-stocked at the end of the growing cycle, to provide a better biosecurity and environmental management framework for the long term. This approach is consistent with international best practice to have longer fallowing periods and the separation of different year classes of fish.
This Petuna lease will be stocked with the 2019 year class smolt.
Mr Ford's decision and supporting material is available here