Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources
PO Box 6021
Canberra ACT 2600
e: [email protected]
RE: Submission to the Australian aquaculture sector inquiry
I write to the Committee as a former Senior Policy Adviser to Ms Rebekha Sharkie MP with carriage of the environment portfolio at the adviser-level for Centre Alliance. This submission is being made wholly in my personal capacity.
Recommendation 1: Pollution from aquaculture urgently needs to be accounted for in the National Pollution Inventory
Aquaculture has a valuable role to play in Australia’s economy; however, like all private industry, it still needs to operate within a reasonable social licence. The fact that aquaculture has been exempted from providing account to the National Pollution Inventory has no basis in public policy, and a complete basis in politics. This exemption for aquaculture needs to be removed as a matter of priority.
Recommendation 2: Establish a moratorium on aquaculture in Fitzgerald Bay, SA
The Giant Australian Cuttlefish that aggregates in the breeding season in significant numbers at Point Lowly near Whyalla is a major South Australian ecotourism drawcard. Aquaculture used to operate in Fitzgerald Bay (directly to the north of Point Lowly) and created significant nitrogenous pollution, leading to the rapid decline of Cuttlefish population numbers. Since the closure of those aquaculture operations, the Cuttlefish population has experienced recovery.
There are currently plans to restart aquaculture operations in Fitzgerald Bay without regard to the expected significant impact upon the Cuttlefish and destruction of its ecotourism benefits. It may well be possible for aquaculture – properly monitored for nitrogenous (and other) pollution and operating within strict limits – to operate in coexistence with the Cuttlefish.
However, until there is a requirement for such aquaculture pollution to be properly measured (and therefore properly regulated and limits properly enforced), there should be a moratorium on aquaculture in Fitzgerald Bay.
My thanks to the Committee for their consideration of my submission.
Mr Michael Cornish
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