The Department prepares Marine Farming Development Plans (Plans), or amendments to existing Plans for the major marine farming areas of the State using the process set down in the Marine Farming Planning Act 1995.
How are Plans made or amended?
There are several steps in the process that involve consideration by the Minister and the Marine Farming Planning Review Panel (the Panel).
Creating or amending a Plan flowchart:
First, a proposal to develop a new Plan or amendment an existing Plan is prepared and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is developed. The Marine Farming Planning Act 1995 sets out the requirements that draft Plans or amendments have to meet, including:
- having regard for the use and development of the region as an entity in environmental, economic, recreational and social terms, and
- having regard to the biological and physical requirements of fish species to be farmed in that area.
The draft Plans be placed on public exhibition for up to two months, during which time representations may be submitted to the planning authority. In the case of an amendment to a Plans, the amendment is placed on public exhibition for up to 2 months, during which time public representations may be submitted to the planning authority.
The independent expertise-based Marine Farming Planning Review Panel assesses representations. The Panel may require modifications to a draft Plan or Plan amendment in light of representations. Draft modifications, if required, are then exhibited for up to two months for comment.
The Minister for Primary Industries and Water gives final approval to Plans or amendments to existing Plans after which allocation of leasable area may proceed. Plans must be reviewed at least once every ten years to ensure that the objectives of resource management are achieved.
The Minister for Primary Industries and Water may approve emergency Plans to address short-term emergencies. Emergency plans remain in force for a period not exceeding two years, and override an existing Plan to the extent of any inconsistency.
Environmental Impact Statements
An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) must be developed and released for public exhibition with the proposed Plan.
The EIS is prepared in accordance with generic guidelines:
These generic guidelines set out the list of core matters to be addressed. These are refined according to proposal-specific considerations provided by the Panel. The EIS must also meet any requirements given by EPA Tasmania.
The EIS, where appropriate, must address:
- Operational matters, including practical issues around installation of the proposed farm and biosecurity protocols.
- Environmental matters including matters relating to the water column and the seabed.
- Commercial and recreational fishing including reporting on consultation with stakeholders of both sectors.
- Socio-economic considerations such as effects on local and state labour markets, tourism and business operators and impacts on local land and housing including visual amenity.
As the EIS is based around proposed future development, it will usually be accompanied by a detailed environmental monitoring program to gather information about actual effects. Data obtained from monitoring feeds into management decisions.
Mitigation measures (if appropriate) to address potential impacts identified in the EIS must be included in draft ‘management controls’ of the new or amended Plan.
Lease and Licensing Requirements
Before any marine farming operations can begin a proponent must apply for and, subject to conditions, be granted a lease (under the Marine Farming Planning Act 1995) and a marine farming licence (under the Living Marine Resources Management Act 1995). The proponent will also require an Environmental Licence (EL) under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994, which includes site-specific environmental management elements determined by the Director of EPA Tasmania.
A proponent may also need to consider their intended activity in relation to the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and have their proposal assessed under that Act.