Offshore Fish Farm Debate Continues

Proposed Aquaculture Leases – Providence Bay
Proposed Aquaculture Leases – Providence Bay

THE proposed Offshore Fish Farm which is set to be a joint venture between NSW DPI and Tasmanian-based Huon Aquaculture Providence Bay to some might seem a feasible idea. Given that 70 to 80% of our Seafood is imported, one would think such a venture would be welcomed.

Whilst the proposal has economical merit, its proposed location in the middle of the ‘Humpback Highway’ and it’s amended size has some of the community questioning elements of the development.

The original proposal was to utilise the now defunct Pieces Aquaculture Farm just off Hawks Nest, but now with a push to expand not only the size of the site, but also the size of the pens used to house the fish has been met with a level of concern by some objectors to the proposal.

Ronnie and Warwick Nichols from Tea Gardens are less than impressed with the latest proposals which they say could have significant impact on the use of the area by whales, dolphins, seals and other aquatic creatures.

Speaking with News Of The Area, Ronnie Nichols said, “It is an Australia wide problem that small communities are being asked to suffer ongoing development pressures and processes whereby ‘state significance’ versus ‘unreasonable impact’ are the guidelines.”

“The time has come to move away from the acceptance of loss as a companion to progress, particularly where loss of species and depleted biodiversity are the outcomes deemed acceptable,’ she said.

Concerning elements of the proposal for Ronnie and Warwick include the fact that whilst the operation is now planned to be moved to between 7 and 9 kilometres offshore, the proposed size of the pens has nearly doubled to be nearly 170m each in diameter, and the sites entire size now bordering 124 hectares in total.

Ronnie Nichols said, “For local employment possibilities it also appears the area will lose out.”

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“It appears to be the intent of the commercial HUON farmers to utilise the resources of Newcastle for the various facets of their proposal, employing shipping as transport up and down the coast from Providence Bay to Newcastle, so again, opportunities for the local environment and people lose out.”

“It’s our view that the proposal would be far better suited closer to the port of Newcastle and out of an area where our precious aquatic biodiversity is not jeopardised.”

News Of The Area contacted NSW DPI for comment regarding Ronnie and Warwick Nichols concerns and are yet to reply at the time of publication.

 

By Dave BRAZIER

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