As reported in The Mercury (30 March 2023), the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) and leading marine scientists have panned new draft regulations for the industry. The EDO has called for a pause in the development of the new regulations, which they say are unclear, below international best practice and are not based on the best available scientific advice.
‘They are a weaker set of environmental rules than currently apply and are a diminished version of what was promised by the government last year. This is unacceptable’ said EDO managing lawyer Claire Bookless.
Tasmanian Independent Science Council member and Derwent Estuary Program founder Christine Coughanowr said the draft standards provide less environmental protection and less clarity than existing rules. She said ‘They significantly expand the allowable footprint of impact, devolve responsibility for critical aspects of monitoring and compliance to industry, and fail to require regular, public reporting by the EPA and the salmon industry’.
Former EPA and Marine Farming Review Panel board member Louise Cherrie said the draft standards were grossly inadequate, lack technical detail and trigger limits, and perpetuate the existing over-reliance on visual indicators.
NOFF fully supports these views. Our submission focused on the absolute and arbitrary powers of the Director of the EPA to decide matters of scientific or community importance, and the lack of mandatory independent and transparent expert scientific advice.