I started to write about how it felt to vote in the state election in a new electorate but I became sidetracked by two of the major issues that affect people on the northwest coast of Tasmania so I decided that it was better to cover those in a separate post.
One issue is the proposed siting of a new wind farm on Robbins Island in Bass Strait. We do already have a wind farm at Woolnorth, west of Smithton, which has been operating for some years. Environmentalists generally like wind farms as a sustainable source of power but in this case there are a couple of issues. One is the height of the towers, they would be up to 270 metres high. Another, which has been brought up by Dr Bob Brown, is that they would be detrimental to wildlife, both birds and fish. The project would provide local jobs in the building phase but the company, UPC Renewables, is foreign owned and some people feel that Tasmanians would not benefit from lower power prices. Their concern is that the power would be transmitted to mainland Australia via an underground cable and that Tasmania would have to buy it back when extra power was required.
As for the fish farms, aquaculture is already established in Tasmania with fish farms near where I lived in Port Huon, in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and in Macquarie Harbour on the west coast and the Tasman peninsula as well as land based fish farms.
Author Richard Flanagan released a book called “Toxic” just last week about the salmon farming industry. It was not timed to coincide with the election as that was not expected to happen until next year.
During the years that I lived in the Huon Valley there were several incidents involving the fish farms. Pollution in the Huon River and D’Entrecasteaux Channel, fish escaping from the pens, dead fish and seal culls are just some of the issues. Of course the aquaculture industry is a big employer. Locals are employed by Huon Aquaculture and Tassal at their sites in the Huon and Channel. Understandably it would cause hardship if they left the area so many people don’t want to see that happen. Aquaculture has taken the place of forestry and apple growing in the Huon after those two industries downsized.
My understanding is that the new fish farms off the northwest coast would be further out to sea than those in the Huon and Channel but environmentalists say that land based fish farming is safer for the environment. Many commercial and recreational fishermen oppose the fish farms as well including Craig Garland, an independent candidate for Braddon and the Shooters and Fishers Party.
Animals Australia have a list of 10 reasons why you shouldn’t eat farmed salmon and they don’t make appealing reading. I am not a vegan, I like to eat meat and I like to eat fish but I do think that these industries need to look at the big picture and be operated in a way that is sustainable for the future and clean. I was going to say kind but I know that sounds hypocritical. What I mean is that if you are going to eat animals at least treat them humanely until their time comes. However, I digress from the subject. I just wanted to talk about these two issues that are important to many Tasmanians. I did a great deal of reading to try and learn more about both of them and have included links to the ones I read.