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Huon goes after Tassal with amended court proceedings

Huon claims Tassal is in breach of Macquarie Harbour biomass determination.

Huon Aquaculture Group has sought leave from the Australian Federal Court to amend proceedings seeking a declaration that Tassal Group is in breach of the biomass determination in Macquarie Harbour.

The requested amendments are necessary after Huon announced it had commenced Federal Court proceedings on 6 June and subsequently Tassal’s biomass determination was re-issued by the director of the Tasmanian Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) later the same day.

Tassal’s re-issued determination now includes a biomass allocation of 1,560 metric tons for its lease 266, which is not currently approved for stocking due to a direction by the EPA to allow it to recover from the past effects of farming.

The re-issued determination took Tassal’s total biomass from 2,067 metric tons (or 13 metric tons/ha) to around 3,627 metric tons to be farmed across Tassal’s remaining farmable leases 214 and 219 (at 22 metric tons/ha) in Macquarie Harbour.

At the same time Tassal’s determination was re-issued, the EPA also announced that it had approved a “waste capture trial” that granted Tassal a further biomass allocation which equates to a further 4,200 metric tons taking Tassal’s total allowable biomass to around 7,840 metric tons.

This equates to a potential stocking density of 28 metric tons/ha, said Huon in a release to the Australian Stock Exchange.

Both Huon and Petuna are required to farm their leases in Macquarie Harbour to a stocking density of 13 metric tons/ha.

Huon is seeking the courts approval to amend proceedings based on the assertion that the EPA Director’s “approval to trial” waste capture technology does not constitute “an approved waste capture system” and that such an approval is beyond the power of the EPA director.

In addition, Huon said allocating Tassal 28 metric tons/ha on the basis of the implementation of an “approved waste capture system” lacks an "evident and intelligible justification."

Finally, Huon will also challenge the inclusion of lease 266 for the purpose of Tassal’s biomass allocation for the same reason -- the decision to include lease 266 lacks an evident and intelligible justification.


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