Planning for salmon farms involves research, environmental assessment, public consultation and review by independent experts. This approach also applies to shellfish and seaweed farming planning.
The key pieces of State legislation that apply to salmon farm planning are the:
The MFPA provides for:
- Preparation of marine farming development plans (Plans)
- Amendments to these Plans
- Review of these Plans.
The objectives of the MFPA are to:
The primary decision-makers are the Minister for Primary Industries and Water, the Secretary of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE), and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Board and Director. A critical advisory role is played by the Marine Farming Planning Review Panel (the Panel).
- Integrate marine farming activities with other marine users
- Minimise any adverse impacts
- Take account of land uses
- Take account of the community's right to have an interest in those activities.
Marine Farming Development Plans
Plans are usually developed for a region, such as a bay or an estuary.
Plans establish zones for marine farming and specify:
- The types of fish (for example, finfish, shellfish or seaweed) that may be farmed in each zone
- The maximum area that can be farmed in each zone
- Management controls that set out the operational requirements for marine farming.
Each zone has an identified maximum leasable area (MLA), that can be allocated in one or more leases. The combined area of the leases cannot exceed the MLA.
Approved Plans for Salmon Farming
There are currently 14 approved Plans, seven of which contain existing salmon farming operations. All these plans can be viewed on the Salmon Portal
How are Plans made or amended?
Once a proposal and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) have been developed, there may be a planning process to prepare a new plan or amend an existing plan. There are several steps in the process that involve consideration by the Minister and the Marine Farming Planning Review Panel (the Panel).
The process also includes releasing the proposal and the EIS for public comment and, if necessary, conducting public hearings. The Department prepares a detailed consideration of the public comments and either the Department or the Panel may recommend changes to the proposal.
If the Panel agrees to recommend a draft plan or an amendment to an existing plan, the Panel prepares a report for the Minister. The Minister then gives final consideration before the plan (or amendment) is made.
Creating or amending a Plan flowchart:
Before any marine farming operations, including salmon farming, can begin a proponent must apply for and, subject to conditions, be granted a lease (under the Marine Farming Planning Act 1995) and a marine farming licence (under the Living Marine Resources Management Act 1995). The proponent will also require an Environmental Licence (EL) under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994, which includes site-specific environmental management elements determined by the Director of EPA Tasmania.
A proponent may also need to consider their intended activity in relation to the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and have their proposal assessed under that Act.