Environmental monitoring

A Water Quality and Benthic Environment Monitoring Plan has been developed by the NSW DPI/Huon Aquaculture Research Team to assess and mitigate potential impacts from operations at the Marine Aquaculture Research Lease. Implementing the Plan is a condition of the approval granted by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.

The Plan includes programs to monitor water quality, macrobenthic invertebrates (i.e. worms and crustaceans larger than 1mm) and the seafloor substrate.

The Plan details:

    • The locations at which monitoring will be undertaken (under farm pens, outside the Research Lease boundary and two other external sites in Providence Bay);
    • The water quality parameters to be measured (ammonia, nitrate, total Nitrogen, total Phosphorus, chlorophyll a) and standards against which any changes to water quality will be assessed including ‘trigger points’ for further investigation or action to be taken;
    • Identification of the frequency of sampling or the thresholds to be used to determine monitoring events (e.g. standing stock of 25, 100, 200 tonnes);
    • The parameters used to identify an effect on the benthic fauna from the operation of the development (including species richness and diversity); and
    • The substrate parameters to be measured to determine whether the development is impacting upon the sediment chemistry (including total organic carbon (TOC), redox, visual assessment of cores, particle size).


Update Survey 2

One year on from the Baseline water quality survey at the MARL, and no significant evidence of organic enrichment has been found.

The report below presents column and sediments data required under the Water Quality Monitoring, the Substrate Monitoring and the Benthic Macroinvertebrate Monitoring programs to meet the NSW Department of Primary Industries and Environment conditions of approval.

The survey was undertaken one year after the Baseline survey to allow for a direct comparison of the results whilst eliminating any seasonal effects.

The report found “observations suggest there to be no significant evidence of organic enrichment across all sites including the pen site.”

Read the full report here:

S1 - Compliance Site

S1 is a compliance site located 35 meters from the lease boundary.

The cores are a very good example of clean sand and they show no evidence of any darkening of any part of the core. If darkening were present, it would suggest organic enrichment.

C2 – Control Site

C2 is a control site that is situated between the MARL and Broughton Islands.

The cores show clean sands right through with only one very small dark patch suggesting possible decomposition of flora or fauna at that depth in the core.

S3 – Pen Site

S3 is sited right on the edge of the pen. The cores show clean sands throughout which is very similar to all other sites. There is no evidence of an organic layer or presence within the core.