Notice of Management Determination, January 2017
The EPA Director issued a Notice of Determination on 16 January 2017, which lowered the maximum permissable biomass to 14,000 tonnes of finfish in Macquarie Harbour for the period from 14 February to 30 April 2017 and made a new set of determinations for the three salmon companies. These determinations reduced the biomass limit for the Harbour below the biomass cap for 2013 of 15,437 tonnes, and were based on a range of information, including a review of the most recent research findings provided by the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS). They were set in response to environmental indicators, including: very low levels of dissolved oxygen (DO) in the deeper waters of Macquarie Harbour; the current extent of Beggiatoa species in the Harbour, and its increase over the past six months; and a decline in benthic fauna in the vicinity of the marine farms. In addition, management controls were aimed at reducing the impact of nutrient waste on the benthic environment in proximity to the non-compliant sites; and required non-compliant areas to be fallowed and re-assessed before restocking.
The Director deferred making the biomass determination for the period from 1 May 2017 to 30 April 2020 until the January 2017 benthic sampling data was reviewed after further consultation with the companies. The determinations, along with the letters sent to the three companies operating in the harbour, are in the following document.
EPA Director's Notice of Determinations for Aquaculture Companies, Macquarie Harbour, Jan 2017
Draft Biomass Determinations, May 2017
The EPA Director advised the salmon companies on 5 May 2017 that he had completed his evaluation of the most recent monitoring data for Macquarie Harbour, and has made his latest determinations for the maximum permissible finfish biomass, lowering the total from the current 14,000 to 12,000 tonnes for the period 1 June 2017 to 30 April 2018. The determination of 12,000 tonnes is considered necessary to ensure the Harbour can recover to a point where it can sustainably manage marine farming into the long term. In addition to lowering the biomass maxiumum limit, a number of other future management changes are being considered. These include moving to a lease by lease management framework with a set of environmental performance measures for each lease within the Harbour. Some of the companies are also exploring fish waste collection systems and the EPA will be working with them to develop and assess applications for their approval.
The Director's letter to the salmon companies as well as the accompanying Draft Statement of Reasons, can be viewed here, along with the three salmon companies' submissions. The redactions in these submissions have been at the companies' requests, and do not reflect the Director's view of the commercial in confidence nature of the material. Download copies of the documents here:
EPA Director's Letter to salmon companies, dated 5 May 2017
EPA Director's Draft Statement of Reasons for Draft Determination
Huon - MH Submission (Redacted) - Jan 2017
Huon - MH Submission with Appendix (Redacted) - Jan 2017
Huon - MH Submission (Final for Distribution) - April 2017
Petuna - MH Submission with Stocking Plan (Redacted) - Nov 2016
Petuna - MH Submission with Attachments (Redacted) - Mar 2017
Tassal - MH Submission (Redacted) - Dec 2016
Tassal - MH Submission (Redacted) - Jan 2017
Tassal - MH Submission with Environmental & Farmed Stock Management (Redacted) - Apr 2017
Final Biomass Determination, May 2017
The Director, Environment Protection Authority, has advised Huon Aquaculture, Tassal and Petuna that the biomass for Macquarie Harbour will be set at 12,000 tonnes, or 13 tonnes per hectare for the period from 31 May 2017 until 31 May 2018. Tassal has requested approval to grow their 2016 year class fish through to market size, resulting in around 4,000 tonnes of additional salmon being in the Harbour in January 2018. Authority has been given subject to Tassal installing an approved waste collection system to capture waste from 1.5 tonnes of fish for each tonne of salmon exceeding the 13 tonnes per hectare limit. This will mean that in January 2018 Tassal will be capturing fish waste from 6,000 tonnes of salmon, preventing it settling on the harbour floor.
Below are copies of the advice to the companies, the submissions provided against the draft determinations issued on 5 May 2017 and the Tassal draft environmental management plan for the waste collection system.
Letter from EPA to Tassal
Letter from EPA to Huon
Letter from EPA to Petuna
EPA Director’s statement
Tassal redacted submission provided against draft determinations and covering letter
Huon redacted submission provided against draft determinations and covering letter
Petuna redacted submission provided against draft determinations and covering letter
Tassal Environmental Management Plan for Salmonid Aquacullture Waste Capture Systems in Fish Cages, Macquarie Harbour
Tassal Determinations Reissued, 6 June 2017
On Tuesday 6 June, the EPA Director reissued the biomass determinations provided to Tassal for Macquarie Harbour for the period from 1 June 2017 to 31 May 2018 to avoid any doubt as to their intent. This follows the Director's 5 May correspondence to Tassal, which stated that the draft biomass determinations of 13 tonnes per hectare was to be based on a combined total lease area of 280 hectares for the lease numbers 214, 219 and 266. In order to make the legal instrument quite clear in this regard, it has been reissued and is provided below along with the Director's statement of reasons for the reissue:
Tassal 2017 Reissued Determinations, Macquarie Harbour
Statement of Reasons for Tassal determination reissue, 6 June 2017
Salmon farming waste capture system guidelines
The EPA has issued Guidelines for Salmonid Aquaculture Waste Capture Systems, Macquarie Harbour, May 2017 for the preparation of an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for the proposed under-pen waste capture sytems for salmonid aquaculture in the Harbour. The guidelines cover information required from the proponent on the proposed fish waste collection system, including the objective, design, location and trial timeframes; the environmental and project risks, and risk management; the monitoring, testing, reporting and consultation; and other information on biosecurity, fish health and social aspects.
Macquarie Harbour WCS Guidelines May 2017
Waste Capture System Trial
On 6 June 2017, the EPA Director approved Tassal undertaking a trial of five (5) waste collection units on pens within the area of lease numbers 219 and 214 over the four week period commencing 5 June 2017. The EPA Approval for Waste Capture Trial, Macquarie Harbour has been issued under the existing management controls of the Macquarie Harbour Marine Farming Development Plan. A copy of the instrument is provided here along with the requirements for the waste capture trial, monitoring and reporting. The purpose of the trial is to test the design of the units and the systems to collect and remove the waste from the harbour. The waste will be taken ashore and treated prior to disposal, and this will be assessed and approved under section 44 of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994, and managed via and Environment Protection Notice.
EPA Approval for Trial Waste Collection, Macquarie Harbour
Waste Capture System Approval, June 2017
On 30 June 2017, the EPA Director approved the continuation of Tassal's proposed Waste Capture Sytem (WCS), issuing an Approval instrument and an Environment Protection Notice (EPN) for Tassal's fish waste collection in Macquarie Harbour. Under the EPN, Tassal is required to undertake a range of monitoring and reporting, including benthic fauna and dissolved oxygen, and parameters to measure the efficacy of the WCS. Tassal's report on the WCS trial and its Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for the system's operation are provided below, along with copies of the EPN, the Director's cover letter and approval instrument.
EPA Director's Cover Letter, dated 30 June 2017
EPA's Environment Protection Notice No 9702/1
EPA's WCS Approval Instrument
Tassal's Macquarie Harbour WCS Trial Report, June 2017
Tassal's Environmental Management Plan WCS, June 2017
Approval for Waste Treatment, October 2017
On 20 September 2017, Tassal provided the EPA with an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) detailing the proposal to treat fish farm waste on Macquarie Harbour on board the vessel Wallaby. On 3 October 2017, the EPA Director provided Tassal with approval to undertake the treatment of fish waste sourced from the operation of its WCS in Macquarie Harbour, issuing an Approval instrument and an Environment Protection Notice (EPN). The EPN specifies the requirements and conditions to regulate the treatment of fish farm waste on Macquarie Harbour, including reporting and monitoring of fish waste collection. Copies of the EMP (redacted), EPN, and the Director's cover letter and approval instrument are provided below.
Signed Approval Instrument, EPA Director, 3 October 2017
EPN 9760-1 Waste Treatment by Tassal, Macquarie Harbour
Signed Cover Letter by EPA Director, 3 October 2017
EMP Waste Management, Tassal, Macquarie Harbour (redacted)
On 20 November 2017 the EPA Director approved changes to the EMP. These changes cover additional treatment processes to be undertaken by Tassal, specifically disinfection and an activtated sludge process. Copies of the revised EMP (redacted) and the Director's cover letter approving the management change, are provided below.
Signed Letter for Change of Approval by EPA Director, 20 November 2017
EMP Waste Management - Tassal Macquarie Harbour - Revised 15 November 2017 (redacted)
Approval for Fish Farm Waste Disposal, November 2017
On Tuesday 7 November, Tassal provided a draft application for the disposal of treated liquid fish farm waste from its Macquarie Harbour WCS via a TasWater wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) outfall. The proposal is for the disposal of up to 60,000 litres per day of aquaculture effluent via Pardoe WWTP outfall, Devonport. On Monday 13 November, the EPA approved the final application, subject to conditions for effluent monitoring and management, and receiving environment monitoring. Copies of these documents are provided below.
Tassal’s application for Mac Harbour Fish Farm Waste Disposal
Environmental Approval for Tassal's Fish Farm Waste Disposal
Biomass limit set for Macquarie Harbour for next two years, May 2018
Director of the Environment Protection Authority, Mr Wes Ford, has set the biomass limit for salmonids (salmon and trout) in Macquarie Harbour at 9,500 tonnes for the next two years, a reduction of 21 percent on the current limit. Mr Ford said that he had yesterday advised the three salmon companies that he had set the peak biomass for the for the period 1 June 2018 to 31 May 2020 at 10.26 tonnes per hectare, which equates to 9,500 tonnes.
EPA Director Wes Ford's Statement of Reasons for the determination of the peak biomass for salmonids in Macquarie Harbour for the period 1 June 2018 to 31 May 2020
Draft Biomass determination for Macquarie Harbour 2018-20 letter to industry 5 march 2018
Huon Aquaculture response to letter regarding MH Draft Biomass determination 6 April 2018
Tassal response to letter regarding MH Draft Biomass determination 15 March 2018
Restocking of Franklin marine farming lease MF266 in Macquarie Harbour approved, July 2018
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.
EPA Director Wes Ford's statement of reasons for approving the restocking of Franklin marine farming lease MF266 in Macquarie Harbour, July 2018
Tassal letter of application for the restocking of MF266, June 2018
EPA letter of assessment for restocking of MF266, July 2018
IMAS Franklin lease recovery assessment report, July 2018
Petuna and Tassal Joint Venture Stocking Plan for Macquarie Harbour (MF 266), July 2018
Waste Capture System: Summary Report of Water and Sediment Quality Monitoring
In June 2017, the EPA Director approved the continuation of Tassal's Waste Capture System (WCS) for Tassal's fish waste collection from pens within the area of lease numbers 219 and 214 in Macquarie Harbour. In October 2017, the EPA Director provided Tassal with approval to undertake the treatment of fish waste sourced from the operation of its WCS in Macquarie Harbour. The requirements for monitoring and reporting the environmental effects of fish waste collection were outlined in Environment Protection Notice 9702/1 and included a summary report. All waste capture liners were removed from Macquarie Harbour in April 2018 and the finalised Waste Capture System Report was submitted by Tassal on 19 November 2018.
The Report can be found here