Aquaculture-Community Futures: North West Tasmania
University of Tasmania (UTAS)
Karen A. Alexander
To secure the future of Australian aquaculture, building and maintaining a sufficient level of support and trust from interested and affected communities is vital. Worldwide, there have been several examples of where aquaculture operations have been threatened because of a lack of societal acceptability. In Australia, a recent example of this has been the environmental non-governmental organisations (eNGOs) campaigns against proposed fish farm operations in Okehampton Bay on Tasmania’s east coast (Murphy-Gregory, 2017). In the Tasmanian context, attitudes toward the commercial exploitation/use of natural resources involve multi-dimensional, often conflicting, values often with a spatial dimension (see Evans, Kirkpatrick & Bridle 2018). FRDC Project 2017-158 ‘Determinates of socially-supported wild-catch and aquaculture fisheries in Australia’ has revealed that several factors contribute towards achieving community acceptance: the perception that a company offers benefits; that it contributes to the well-being of the region and respects the local way of life; that it listens, responds and exhibits reciprocity; and that relations are based on an enduring regard for each other’s interests. These factors are often based on understanding and contributing towards achieving a certain state or condition of that which is valued by local and regional communities (e.g. a certain level of local employment, or of threatened habitat protection). Indeed, a lack of social acceptance for the aquaculture industry has often resulted in part from their practices being seen to, or in some cases actually, compromising the condition or state of what communities ‘value’ (feel is very important). This project has been designed to examine the mix of community interests and values, and to identify how the aquaculture industry and regional communities can participate in processes of negotiation, to contribute towards the achievement of desired conditions or states of community values, using NW Tasmania as a case study.
1. Identify what the NW communities and Tasmanian residents value (“community values”) in relation to the NW Tasmanian coastal and marine region
2. Establish which of these values future aquaculture in NW Tasmanian can contribute to (“shared values”)
3. Ascertain community preferences for how salmonid farming in NW Tasmania could contribute to these shared values, and how this should be tracked and benchmarked
5. Determine preferences of NW communities and Tasmanian residents for community-industry engagement, communication and partnership models (social engagement strategies)