The State of Tasmania's Freshwater
Action for Climate: How can lutruwita/Tasmania be a real leader?

11 August 2023

The Tasmanian Government has failed to publish the vital State of the Environment (SOE) Report since 2009. They have committed to do so by 30 June 2024 following concerted efforts by the Australia Institute Tasmania, the Environmental Defenders Office, and the Tasmanian community.

This report by the Tasmanian Independent Science Council, the Australia Institute Tasmania and the Environmental Defenders Office warns that Tasmania’s first State of the Environment report in almost 15 years will not be fit for purpose without an immediate funding boost and increased transparency. We call for a substantial investment in funding, among other recommendations, to make up for the long-standing lack of comprehensive environmental analysis and reporting.

FACT CHECK OF SALMON TAS REPORT: The Tasmanian Salmon industry: a vital social and economic contributor.

15 August 2023

This report assesses Salmon Tasmania’s recent publication on the social and economic impact of the Tasmanian salmon aquaculture industry. It draws on the underlying report to Salmon Tasmania by Deloitte, and the preceding background report ‘Salmonid Aquaculture Production’ published by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies.

The Tasmanian Independent Science Council has reviewed economic claims made by Salmon Tasmania and finds that the claims are misleading and overstate the economic and social contribution of the industry. 

“Now that all three salmon producers are under foreign ownership, industry finances and economic contributions have become even more opaque. Salmon Tasmania has missed an opportunity to provide the Tasmanian public with a transparent, holistic analysis that accounts for all social, economic and environmental costs and benefits of the industry,” says report author Dr Graeme Wells.


27 April 2023

In April 2022, the Tasmanian Government started developing a 10-year salmon plan. Key stakeholders, including the Tasmanian Independent Science Council (TISC), were invited to participate in a ‘consultative and collaborative’ process to provide input to this plan. The TISC has participated in all aspects of this consultation process, but our input—along with that of many other organisation and individuals—has been largely ignored.
The TISC has developed PLAN B to provide a positive alternative plan for Tasmania's aquaculture industry. PLAN B is underpinned by a ten-point framework that focuses on three fundamental principles – world class science and innovation, full transparency, and fair and equitable returns – outlining a more sustainable way forward for the creation of regional jobs and for protecting the environment.
A profitable salmon industry that coexists with healthy marine and freshwater environments, provides good economic value to the Tasmanian people, and does not detract from the use and enjoyment of our shared waterways.


REPORTSThe Tasmanian Independent Science Council publishes reports which seek to inform the policy surrounding our environment. 


21 July 2023

Long Bay is not a suitable location for salmon or other finfish farming. It is strongly recommended that the current operations be removed from the bay, that the current Environmental and Marine Farming Licenses not be renewed, and that the Tasman Marine Farm Development Plan be modified to exclude finfish aquaculture as a permissible use at this lease. On 30 November 2023, the current Environmental License (9959/3) for the Long Bay finfish lease is due to expire. Based on the evidence of environmental harm and nuisance presented in this report, this License should not be renewed.

The Tasmanian Independent Science Council has written directly to the Minister for Environment, the Minister for Primary Industries, and the Director of the EPA detailing this request.

WHY SALMON FARMING SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM LONG BAY: A multiple lines of evidence review

Towards a sustainable marine management: An update on Tasmanian progress

30th September 2020

Eloise Carr and Leanne Minshull, on behalf of the Australia Institute and the Tasmanian Independent Science Council, released a report on Tasmania's marine management.

Our little island provides a home for diverse marine ecosystems, supports regional economies, holds cultural significance for First Nations communities and provides recreation for hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors.

Tasmania’s coastal waters have high biodiversity and endemism but are in a state of decline and increasing pressure from climate change, fishing and aquaculture operations, agricultural run-off, urban development, and population growth. Where problems have been identified, there is often no recovery or threat abatement plan.

Despite the environmental, economic and cultural significance of Tasmania’s coastal waters, it has been over a decade since the last integrated assessment of their health by resource managers. Legislative and regulatory frameworks that manage their use operate in isolation and need to be modernised and integrated. Only 1.1% of Tasmania’s marine waters are fully protected.

This report recommends:

  1. An integrated, ecosystem-based approach to managing our marine estate.
  2. Establishing multi-disciplinary ecosystem condition assessments and reporting.
  3. Establishing comprehensive, adequate and representative marine protected areas (MPAs) to conserve the region’s high global values, consistent with integrated ocean management.
  4. An independent review of Tasmania’s marine legislation and regulatory framework.
  5. Adequate resourcing for the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service to co-manage MPAs with First Nations Tasmanians, in collaboration with scientists, and stakeholders.

11th August 2021

Christine Coughanowr, on behalf of the Tasmanian Independent Science Council, has prepared a report on the state of Tasmania's rivers.

Tasmania’s freshwater resources can no longer be considered to be healthy and abundant. DPIPWE’s River Health Monitoring Program reviews in 2018 and 2020 record that over 40% of sites monitored are classified as significantly or severely impaired or impoverished. 70% of core sites had declined over the final five years of the review.

The reduction in systematic and coordinated monitoring across lutruwita/Tasmania, together with a near absence of reporting, makes the extent and severity of this decline difficult to grasp. Even the reporting that has been done may not reflect worst case scenarios, due to methods used and the sites monitored. 

The decline in river condition is made even more worrying by the poor information about existing water use, together with ambitious industry growth targets across agriculture, aquaculture, renewable energy, mining and tourism.

The report reccomends:

  1. The Tasmanian Government must maintain their commitment to modernise and undertake a long-overdue State of Environment Report for Tasmania, including a detailed Freshwater Systems technical report.
  2. A review and reassessment of the environmental flows are needed to sustain Tasmanian rivers both now and into the future.
  3. Improved protection and management of riparian zones and wetlands are necessary.
  4. An improved state-wide monitoring program which identifies and incorporates exiting programs into a comprehensive and cost-effective framework must be established.


3 November 2021

This paper, jointly released by the Tasmanian Independent Science Council and Climate Tasmania, reccomends that a Tasmanian Climate Change Act that drives rapid action on emissions reduction and demonstrates leadership on climate action should include:

● A level of ambition in emissions reduction in all sectors that genuinely sets lutruwita/Tasmania on a path to being a global leader in climate action.

● Sectoral (e.g. transport, agriculture) and fuel specific (e.g. oil products, gas, coal) interim targets with dates.

● Explicit targets and mechanisms for phasing out use of fossil fuels.

● Provision and funding for an independent body to provide ongoing specialist advice to the Tasmanian government, Parliament, and the community.

● Establishment of a capability within Tasmania to collect, report and make public information on emissions sources by both fuel type and sector.

● Explicit mechanisms to ensure public participation and parliamentary oversight in the development of climate actions.

● A requirement to produce five-yearly state-wide climate risk assessments as recommended in the Jacobs Final Report.


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