An Inquiry into the Northern Australian aquaculture industry has heard evidence that prawn farms pose no environmental risk to estuary or reef ecosystems.
Northern based Senator Ian Macdonald, who attended the Inquiry hearings and site inspections, said that the evidence is good news for an industry that has suffered under an unnecessary regulatory burden.
“Scientists from James Cook University and CSIRO agree that any impact from nutrients and prawn farm discharge is very minimal,” he said.
“The prawn farms operating on the Queensland coast are having zero detrimental impact on reef ecosystems, and zero detrimental impact on the mangrove and estuary habitats.
“In fact, the science is suggesting that the mangroves and estuaries around the prawn farms are in much better shape than elsewhere exactly because of the nutrients that run off from the farms into the coastal ecosystem.
“We have heard a lot of stories about recreational fishers travelling many miles just to fish creeks near prawn farm outlets because of the quality of the barramundi,” he added.
Senator Macdonald, who is Chair of the Northern Development White Paper Implementation Oversight Committee, said that aquaculture will be a key industry for the future of the north.
“As the science improves and the outcomes improve we need to do everything we can to assist this industry and not give a voice to the alarmist environmental lobby whose position is not supported by the science and who will happily sabotage Australian jobs.
“Aquaculture is an industry that needs to be fostered – not tied up in red-tape – so that it can provide economic benefit for northern Australia for years to come,” he said.