The monitoring of salmon farms in Tasmania is more comprehensive than that in most other parts of the world and is based on rigorous and broad-ranging research and monitoring that has been ongoing for over 20 years. The success of this integrated research framework has been enhanced through very strong links between government, industry and researchers. Robust regulatory controls have been used to manage benthic impacts from salmon farming activities, and through the adoption of adaptive management strategies, organic loading effects from marine farming operations have been effectively managed using the environmental monitoring framework administered by the Tasmanian Government. The salmon industry-funded Broadscale Environmental Monitoring Program (BEMP) for the D'Entrecasteaux Channel region (which commenced in 2009) has further enhanced the understanding of impacts to include the detection of broadscale impacts to water quality and sediment health. The only marine habitats not subject to broadscale assessment of potential impacts from salmon farming are rocky reef communities. As the Tasmanian salmon industry expands, both in terms of production and growing areas, commercial and recreational fishing groups are concerned that their targeted fishing grounds, which are predominantly based around rocky reef systems, may be impacted by nutrient emissions released through marine farming activities.
This proposal seeks to provide an immediate response to characterising reef community health prior to the development of new growing areas in south eastern Tasmanian waters.