Huon Federal Court action to prove Tassal exceeding biomass limit

Huon Aquaculture announces today that it has lodged proceedings in the Federal Court seeking a declaration that Tassal is in breach of the biomass limit in Macquarie Harbour.

Huon Aquaculture Co-founder and Executive Director, Frances Bender said, “Today we have lodged proceedings in the Federal Court seeking a declaration that Tassal is in breach of the biomass limit announced by EPA Director Wes Ford on 31 May 2017. This action follows on from, and supports, Huon’s action lodged in the Federal Court in February of this year.

“We are doing this to protect the reputation of the industry and the long term sustainability of Macquarie Harbour including the jobs it supports. Tassal cannot continue to ride rough-shod over the decisions of the EPA or the other operators in the Harbour, including Huon.

“Whilst a court order won’t force Tassal to comply, it will show that Tassal’s own publicly available numbers indicate clearly that Tassal is exceeding the current biomass limit set by the EPA.

“Simple maths indicate that Tassal is over its limit right now and will continue to be for many months, with or without a waste capture system.

“The EPA could and should be taking enforcement action now.

“Huon and Petuna have both brought forward their harvest plans to achieve compliance with the limit and reduce pressure on the waterway now.

“Accelerated harvesting maintains jobs, maintains a lower biomass, is safe and humane, and can be implemented immediately to protect the environment.

“Tassal is risking jobs, the environment and the other operators in the Harbour through their deliberate failure to comply with the biomass limits. This behaviour has to stop and stop now,” she said.

ENDS

For further information contact:
Jane Gallichan Huon Aquaculture Corporate Affairs Manager 0400 159 664 jgallichan@huonaqua.com.au

Background information
Declaration
The application in the Federal Court is seeking a declaration that Tassal are in breach of the biomass determination. A declaration is a formal statement by the Court – that is binding – about the existence of a legal state of affairs.

The breach
The biomass determination provides Tassal with an allocation of 2067 tonnes across Tassal’s 214 and 219 leases. The determination does not include an allocation for lease 266. If it did, Tassal’s allocation would be 3,640.

Tassal’s submission to the EPA on 23 May 2017 shows a proposed production schedule with biomass levels of over 4,000 tonnes for June 2017, increasing up to 5,000 in August 2017 and peaking at 7,000 in December 2017 and January 2018.

The Tassal submission indicates that it intends to have waste collection systems in place by 1 September 2017. Leaving aside the waste collection systems and potential supplementary biomass that may be in place from September, this means that on Tassal’s own information they will be in breach of their biomass allocation from June 2017.

The biomass determination is expressed in mandatory terms – that is Tassal must comply on 1 June 2017. Breach of the determination is a breach of a management control in the Marine Farming Development Plan – and the EPA could and should be taking enforcement action.

The biomass figures
Tassal’s submission indicates that its tonnes per hectare will be;
• 25 t/ha as of June 2017 (or 14t/ha if lease 266 is re-stocked);
• 31 t/ha as of August 2017 (18 t/ha if lease 266 is re-stocked)
• 44 t/ha as of December 2017 (25 t/ha if lease 266 is re-stocked)
Huon and Petuna are both complying with the 13 t/h now.

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