Project number: 2009-218
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $108,210.00
Principal Investigator: Dominic O'Brien
Organisation: Tasmanian Salmonid Growers Association Ltd (TSGA)
Project start/end date: 31 Jan 2010 - 12 Sep 2010


As stated in the application for Phase 1, the Tasmanian salmonid industry is absolutely reliant on fishnet antifoulants to; maximise the flow of water through pens to maintain optimal conditions for its fish, and, as a net stiffener forming a fundamental part of the pen seal defences. Without antifoulants seals would attack the pens incessantly and farms would not have the resources to treat fish for gill amoeba and change nets every fortnight to remove fouling during summer.
The TSGA has been involved in a programme with DEWHA, APVMA, DPIPWE(Tas) seeking to provide the necessary information to register antifoulants for use on nets employed on fish farms. The APVMA have agreed to re-issue a trial “research” permit to allow for the use of antifouling paints that have copper oxide as their sole active ingredient and which will assess the environmental sustainability of its use on fish farms.
The present allocation of paint is totally reliant on the extension of a research permit and as such provides no medium or long term assurance for the use of antifoulants, without which the industry would face collapse. Further, beyond August 2009 there is no guarantee of any antifoulant without registration. A further extension of the present permit is possible subject to the appropriate research and monitoring being undertaken during the extension, this research being essentially an extension of the work carried out under FRDC project DO004 (Phase 1).
Estimating sediment copper bioavailability requires a stepwise analytical approach as recommended by the CECR in the Phase 1 project and herein, which aims to provide that data required by the APVMA in a timely fashion both for industry’s 08/09 needs and for registration within the next year.


1. To provide information on the bioavailability and potential sub-lethal or chronic effects of copper-based anti-fouling paints contaminated sediments, using the following approaches.
2. (i) direct measures of bioavailability through measuring bioaccumulation of copper by the benthic bivalve, Tellina deltoidalis,
3. (ii) Sub-lethal and chronic toxicity tests using the three benthic organisms, amphipod (Melita. plumulosa), copepod (Nitocra spinipes) and bivalve (Tellina deltoidalis).

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