Aquaculture and the Environment

​​​​​A strong framework for environmental monitoring and regulation plays a key role in ensuring the sustainable management and development of aquaculture operations in Tasmania. ​​​​​

​Tasmanian aquaculture is underpinned by a strong regulatory framework, world-leading scientific knowledge and innovative technology to ensure high environmental compliance and responsible operation.

Work towards supporting an environmentally sustainable aquaculture industry in Tasmania includes:

Environmental planning

Tasmanian aquaculture is managed under the state's Resource Management and Planning System​, which supports decision makers to consider how the use and development of resources accounts for economic, social and environmental implications. 

The Resource Management and Planning System is based on principles of sustainable development, with the aim of achieving sustainable outcomes for the use and development of Tasmania’s natural resources.

Environmental regulation

The Tasmanian aquaculture industry is closely regulated through a framework of development plans, leases, licences and permits, which contain stringent environmental conditions that must be adhered to when undertaking aquaculture operations. 

This enables the effective monitoring of, and response to, environment indicators to ensure the environmental sustainability of the Tasmanian aquaculture industry. 

Environmental regulation of finfish farming is managed by the independent Environment Protection Authority under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994. Environmental regulation of all other types of aquaculture, such as shellfish and seaweed, is managed by the Aquaculture Branch.

Environmental monitoring 

Finfish aquaculture operators are required to report a range of production metrics to the Aquaculture Branch and the Environment Protection Authority, to ensure they are meeting environmental conditions within licences. Metrics include production, employment, feed usage, therapeutant usage, use of seal deterrents, marine debris clean-up data and wildlife interactions.
As part of its commitment to best-practice environmental monitoring, the Environment Protection Authority regularly releases data and reports providing a benchmark of its environmental monitoring regime against international best practice. More information can be found on the Tasmanian Salmon Farming Data Portal and the Environment Protection Authority website.

Inspection and enforcement

Officers from the Aquaculture Branch and the Environment Protection Authority regularly assess aquaculture operations for compliance with regulations, lease and licence conditions, or in response to public notifications of non-compliance. 

Strict penalties are enforced for offences, which can include fines, demerit points and imprisonment. Serious convictions may also impact an operator’s ability to hold a lease or licence. More information on compliance activities can be found in the Department’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy and on the Environment Protection Authority website.

Responsive management

Aquaculture operates within a dynamic environment in which issues can arise and evolve over time. The Aquaculture Branch and related agencies respond to these emerging environmental issues through a responsive management approach, which involves effective, timely and evidence-based responses to the evolving issues that arise from the dynamic social and natural environments in which the industry operates.​

​Aquaculture Biosecurity

Aquatic pests and diseases can have significant impacts on aquaculture. Protecting the environment and Tasmania’s aquaculture industry requires a strong biosecurity system. 

Learn more about aquaculture biosecurity.

Animal Welfare and Wildlife Interactions

Tasmanian aquaculture operates according to high standards of animal welfare and wildlife interaction management, for the benefit of animals, the environment and the industry.

Marine Farming Debris

​Aquaculture operators must report and remove marine farming debris in a timely manner, to reduce the risk of navigational safety, marine wildlife and environment hazards.

Learn more about marine farming debris​.


Aquaculture Branch

Primary Industries & Water Division
Lands Building,
Level 3, 134 Macquarie Street,
Hobart, TAS, 7000.