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Seafish Tasmania pleads guilty to environmental charges

EPA Director, Wes Ford was pleased with the decision today by Seafish Tasmania to plead guilty to three charges under the State’s environmental regulations, resulting from a substantial investigation that commenced in 2012.

Mr Ford said the charges relate to Seafish Tasmania’s unlawful disposal of wastewater from its fish waste processing and rendering operation in Triabunna, to the property Okehampton, over the period from 22 May to 30 December 2012.

"One of the charges that the Company has pled guilty to today acknowledges its actions in the disposal of the wastewater, which could reasonably be expected to have caused material environmental harm to an unnamed creek on Crown Land," said Mr Ford.

"Environmental regulations are important for the State and at times we need to prosecute people in cases where their actions are proven to have resulted in material or serious environmental harm.

"Given the serious nature of these charges against Seafish Tasmania, including the higher levels of environmental impact and culpability, the decision by the EPA to prosecute this matter was appropriate in the circumstances.

"It is also important to establish individual and a broader community deterrence, so as to ensure better long term environmental outcomes," he said.

"It is now a matter for the Court to determine the appropriate penalty for the environmental breaches by the Company," said Mr Ford.

The Company pled guilty to three charges under Section 51A(2) of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA), Regulation 6(1) of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Waste Management) Regulations 2010 and Section 45(3) of EMPCA, respectively, being:

• Deposit a pollutant, or cause or allow a pollutant to be deposited in a place or position where it could be reasonably expected to cause material environmental harm to aquatic environments;

• Remove from a site, arrange for the removal from a site, and disposal of a controlled waste in a manner not approved or in accordance with an environmental approval or an approved management method; and

• Contravene requirement of an environmental protection notice.

Although nine charges were initially brought against the Company, after nearly three years and protracted discussions with the defendant, the EPA, in consultation with the DPP, made the decision not to proceed with the remaining charges.