27 February 2022

If at first you don’t succeed, re-write your declaration

Re-writing history is becoming somewhat of a specialty for the ideologically-driven opponents of the fin‑fish aquaculture industry.

Having called for the transition of aquaculture into offshore waters for the best part of the last decade, the Greens and their conspirators are now feigning ignorance as they shift the goalposts.

‘We call for […] An immediate government led transition out of coastal leases and into land-based and true deep-ocean aquaculture’ reads the fabled Dennes Point Declaration dated 16 October 2020.

Federal Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries and Liberal Senator for Tasmanian Jonno Duniam said he was therefore surprised to see an editorial letter from the co-chair of the Tasmanian Alliance for Marine Protection Peter George in the Mercury on 25 February claiming that ‘offshore salmon production has never been an option for those who have witnessed the impacts of the industry’.

“This revelation is further proof that no matter what steps are taken to ensure that this industry operates based on best-practice, science and environmental sustainability, opponents will simply change their ‘view’ to suit their political position,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“It is there in black and white – both Mr George and various members of the Greens, including Peter Whish-Wilson and Rosalie Woodruff, have called on multiple occasions for aquaculture to be transitioned offshore based on science.

“But now that a commitment has been made to undertake the necessary science and research to investigate offshore aquaculture as a possibility, they are acting like they never supported it.

“It has even been brought to my attention that the original copy of the Dennes Point Declaration dated October 2020 was amended in April 2021 to remove the reference to deep-ocean aquaculture, and appears to have been erased from the history books.

“This mysteriously aligns with my referring of these matters to the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources on 1 April 2021.

“TAMP also made a submission to a Tasmanian Legislative Council inquiry in November 2019 requesting that the salmon industry start the process of moving into deep off-shore waters, and for the government to support the move by encouraging research.

“Mr George’s claim that opponents have never supported offshore aquaculture is therefore patently incorrect and the evidence is on the public record for all to see.

“It is shameful the lengths these ideologues will go to in order to shut this industry down.

“I believe this is dishonest trickery and it needs to be called out.

“Any future decisions on the extension of aquaculture into deep-ocean Commonwealth waters will be based on the science and evidence that will be gathered through the trial being undertaken by the Blue Economy CRC.

“While opponents of the salmon industry are re-writing history, I am focussed on the future and keen to ensure that this industry can sustainably and safely expand and employ many more thousands of Tasmanians.”