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Neighbours of Fish farming recently emailed all candidates for the upcoming election to gain their views on the continued expansion of salmon fish farms in Tasmania. Very few of them gave us the courtesy of a reply.

We asked the following questions:

1.    Do you support the intended expansion of fish farms in Tasmania, including around Bruny Island and on the East Coast?

2.    If so, is there a limit on your support to the ongoing development of the fish farm industry?

3.    Do you require the establishment of an independent fish farm regulator?

4.    Do you support a ban, with penalties, on fish farm operators killing native wildlife such as seals, dolphins, sea eagles and cormorants?

5.    Will you oppose Huon Aquaculture’s fish farm proposals for Port Stephens in NSW?

6.    Will you oppose Tassal’s proposals for Okehampton Bay, and the East Coast of Tasmania?

Replies included:

- Andrew Wilkie (Independent) responded with clear answers to all of our questions and we can be confident that he will work towards no further expansion of fish farming until environmental standards and regulatory safeguards are put in place.

- Peter Whish-Wilson (Greens) responded that the Greens don’t have a position in respect to any particular proposals. Instead, we have a plan to reform the regulatory framework to ensure that any proposed new or or expanded salmon farms are properly assessed for their environmental and social impacts

- Senator Bushby (LIberal) supports the Tasmanian Government’s plan for the growth of the industry

- Julie Collins responded that there would be a response and nothing was forthcoming

- Daniel Baker (Justice party) does not support expansion and stated that he doesn’t have enough details so unsure.

- Brett Wheatley (Liberal Party) past the buck to his coleague in Lyons, Eric Hutchinson who never replied

- Graham Hodge (Christian Democratic Party) venture a personal opinion (mine alone)? I understand there are environmental concerns with the expansion of fish farms, I question the nutritional value of the product due to the feed fish are given, and I certainly do not support the killing of sea eagles, dolphins or even seals (even after by being bitten by one scuba diving once)

- Kevin Harkins Australian Recreational Fishers Party replied that the the Australian Recreational Fishers Party has only been in existence for a few short months and we have been fully engaged with the issue of factory freezer trawlers operating in the small pelagic fishery, and of course the federal election. At the conclusion of the election we certainly intend to turn our mind to decisions on a number of policy issues affecting recreational fishers, and I have no doubt fish farm expansion will be included. I apologise that we cannot provide a more definitive answer but I’m confident that we can discuss the issue more fully in the near future.

We hope this provides some information which will assist you in voting below the line on Saturday

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