24th February 2017
The EPA’s decision to extend the time for the complete de-stocking of the Franklin lease in Macquarie Harbour allows for the process to be undertaken in a safe and orderly way.
Managing Director and CEO Mark Ryan said Tassal’s ongoing harvesting operation from the lease was proceeding as fast as workplace safety, fish wellbeing and logistical constraints would allow.
“The areas of the lease that are closest to the WHA boundary were the first to be de-stocked and are now empty,” he said.
“Following environmental non-compliance results affecting the Franklin lease, Tassal fully accepted the need to harvest out all fish from the lease to support the environmental remediation of the site and that the site would remain unstocked for however long was required.
“The extension decision was sought by Tassal soon after the EPA’s decision in November 2016 as the practical barriers to meeting the February 28 deadline were clear early.”
Mr Ryan said because of long production cycles for salmon, it took time to work through major changes in stocking allowances and other regulatory requirements in an orderly way.
“In practical terms, due to the reduced number of fish on site as at 28 February, 98 per cent of the feed for the fish for the Franklin lease has already been fed out,” he said.
“With much of the site harvested (emptied) and feed already fed out, we have effectively started the remediation process.”
Mr Ryan said salmon aquaculture was a vital mainstay of the local economy on the west coast and that an orderly de-stocking of the Franklin lease, along with a phasing in of lower biomass quotas for Macquarie Harbour, was crucial to maintaining direct and indirect employment in the region.