The Director of the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Mr Wes Ford, has responded to Tassal’s announcement of its latest survey results for Macquarie Harbour, saying that the data will now be analysed by the EPA and it will be included as part of his evaluation to determine a future biomass limit for the Harbour.
EPA Director, Mr Ford said that Tassal has provided the EPA with a summary of the environmental data collected in mid-April from Macquarie Harbour, which includes the benthic fauna surveys. The company has advised the EPA that it will be submitting the video footage for analysis this week.
"In February this year, I directed Tassal to fully de-stock its Franklin lease (No 266), which is the salmon lease closest to the WHA boundary showing the most significant impact," Mr Ford said.
"As part of this direction, the EPA required Tassal to undertake environmental monitoring of the lease at the completion of the de-stocking," he said.
"The lease was fully de-stocked earlier this month and the follow-up survey data is now being analysed by the EPA.
"This data and its analysis will be included in the information I use to set the peak biomass limit for the Harbour for next summer and determine the size of the companies’ intake for the 2017 year class," he said.
Mr Ford said that the EPA is currently assessing seven separate submissions from the three companies. These are the initial submissions provided by each of the companies in relation to the 29 November 2016 draft determination to set the biomass limit at 14,000 tonnes, and four additional submissions regarding lease by lease management and the broader environmental management of the Harbour.
"Given the complexity and volume of this material, it will be a few weeks before I will be in a position to provide any public comment on the biomass limit for the Harbour," he said.
"The EPA will publish a summary report of the monitoring data for Macquarie Harbour once the final determination of the biomass limit for Macquarie Harbour has been made," said Mr Ford.