Tasmania’s salmon industry gambles on $4.8 million nano bubble system

Editorial Staff

Depleted dissolved oxygen levels have been pushing the Maugean skate towards extinction, prompting intervention from the federal government.

The salmon farming industry in Tasmania has launched a AUD $7 million (US$4.8 million) trial to address the critical oxygen depletion in Macquarie Harbour.

This initiative, in collaboration with the Australian federal government, is aimed at saving the endangered Maugean skate and marks a significant effort in environmental conservation within the aquaculture sector.

The trial, co-funded by industry body Salmon Tasmania and the Commonwealth through the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), will deploy a “nano bubble” system.

The innovative approach involves using a diesel-powered generator on a barge to oxygenate low-oxygen water and pump it back into the harbour at specific depths.

The decision for this trial comes amidst concerns over the impact of salmon farming on the harbour’s ecosystem, particularly its role in the decline of the Maugean skate population.

Despite conservation advice suggesting a significant reduction in salmon stocking as a quick solution, the industry has opted for this alternative method.

Overseen by the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at the University of Tasmania, the trial will involve major salmon companies, including Tassal, Petuna, and Huon Aquaculture. The results will be evaluated for their effectiveness in improving water quality and will inform future environmental management strategies.

This move reflects the industry’s attempt to balance ecological responsibilities with economic interests, acknowledging the potential job losses and community impact that could result from a reduction in aquaculture activities.

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