Polling: Majority of Tasmanians Want Pause of Tasmanian Salmon Farm Expansion

Australia Institute

New research from the Australia Institute Tasmania finds most Tasmanians (63%) want to suspend the expansion of salmon farms in Tasmania, expressing widespread (63.5%) concern that the health of Tasmania’s coastal waters is declining. More than one in two (56.3%) Tasmanians agree the Tasmanian Government is not doing enough to protect the health of our oceans.

The Australia Institute commissioned uComms to poll 1,023 residents across Tasmania on the evening of 21st April 2021.

Key Findings:

  • More than six in ten (63%) Tasmanians agreed that expansion of salmon farms in Tasmania should be paused until industry standards are developed and current government inquiries and reviews into the industry have been completed, with only 27.8% disagreeing
  • Vast majority (63.5%) of Tasmanians agreed that they were concerned that the health of Tasmania’s coastal waters is declining, with 34.9% strongly agreeing (the most popular response), only 22.9% disagreed.
  • More than one in two (56.3%) Tasmanians agree the Tasmanian Government is not doing enough to protect the health of our ocean, with only 29.4% disagreeing.
  • Primary vote: Liberal Party 40.2%, Labor Party 27.4%, Greens 12.4%, Independent 10.2%, Other 2.8%, Undecided 7.0%

“Our research shows there is widespread community concern at the decline in health of Tasmania’s coastal waters and a clear message to put a pause on the expansion of salmon farms in Tasmanian,” said Eloise Carr, director of the Australia Institute Tasmania.

“There is clear appetite from Tasmanians for more Government action on the health of our oceans, in fact our research shows most Tasmanians think the government isn’t doing enough to protect the health of our ocean.

“Despite the economic, environmental and cultural importance of Tasmania’s coastal waters, current marine governance practices are problematic and lack integration across sectors, government departments and the catchment-coast-marine continuum.

“Without a more comprehensive approach, Tasmanian industries which rely on a healthy ocean will begin to suffer and Tasmania’s economic interests as a whole will suffer in the short to medium term.

“The salmon industry is only a very small contributor to Tasmania’s economy compared to other industries which also rely on the health of our oceans. Salmon only contributes 1% of jobs in the state of Tasmania,” Ms Carr said.

Based on the Australia Institute Tasmania research, three key recommendations to ensure the long-term health of our oceans are:

  1. A commitment to a comprehensive state-wide Marine Plan, established through a science based, consultative process taking account of all uses, users and values.
  2. A Parliamentary Inquiry, as an appropriate mechanism to review how the Tasmanian Government is currently managing the marine environment and how it should be done.
  3. An immediate moratorium on any further expansion of fish farming leases in Tasmanian waters until the impacts of the industry at its current scale are understood and a state-wide Marine Plan has been adopted.

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