Our glorious Fleurieu Seascape is about to receive a new tourist attraction; a tuna cage.
Sounds good, right?
Well on paper it might, but in all reality we think it’s potentially the worst thing to happen to our coast in recent years.
Allow us tell you why.
Mid way through 2015, a proposal was made to the Victor Harbor Council to install a Tuna Cage at Granite Island as a way to stimulate the floundering businesses based on the island. Before any form of public consultation was made, the state government OK’d it, the majority of the Victor Harbor Council voted yes on it (however we applaud the 2 councillors who were against it from the get go) and tuna millionaires were rubbing their hands together at the prospect of making even more money. The lack of consultation angered local business owners and residents.
The problem we have with the tuna cage is based on two things; The Economical and Environmental impact on the our community and the ocean.
There is no denying that the tuna cage will attract sharks, particularly the Great White. Whether it be a real or perceived threat, it doesn’t matter, it will play on the primal fears deeply rooted in our minds.
WE believe this will have an impact on our tourism which is based on people visiting our beaches to swim and surf. If there is a correlation between the tuna cage and the increased likelihood of being attacked or killed by an apex predator, then we wouldn’t blame people for wanting to spend their money at another coastal community other than ours. But we don’t want that, South Australia pays the highest land tax out of any state and territory in Australia and many of our businesses are struggling enough as it is. This will only hurt them even more and the pinch will be felt by a majority of other local businesses too.
Now onto the environmental impacts
There are 7 (fundamental) flaws with open pen sea cage aquaculture, particularly with farming Southern Bluefin Tuna.
- 1. UNTREATED WASTE. 70 Southern Bluefin Tuna will discharge copious amounts of waste that will accumulate directly underneath them.
- 2. MASS ESCAPES Tuna cages aren’t 100% effective at containing the inhabitants which brings us onto the 3rd flaw
- 3. DISEASES and PARASITES particularly sea lice, being acquired by the farmed tuna and it spreading it into to the wild population.
- 4. THE USE OF TOXIC CHEMICALS to clean the cage.
- 5. FISH FEED
*”One of the biggest issues with Open-Pen Sea Cage Aquaculture is the use of feed that contains fishmeal from wild sources. Pellets that are fed to farmed fish contain many land-based crops and alternative proteins, but as most of the species farmed are carnivorous or omnivorous they require at least some fishmeal to provide necessary amino acids.”
97% of the worlds anchovy catch went to feed Southern Bluefin Tuna (at the failed) Port Lincoln site.
20kgs of fish feed creates 1kg of tuna. Put simply, it’s both a immoral and an unsustainable venture.
6. SOUTHERN BLUEFIN TUNA ARE CRITICALLY ENDANGERED
some might say that this is a good thing, but only if all 70 SBT weren’t going to end up on someone’s plate at some point. Their numbers are dwindling in the Southern Ocean and the cost to feed them is increasing because availability of the feed is also starting to deplete.
7. CAGE LOCATION
Normally, these cages are located far out to sea where the waste water won’t have as high of an environmental impact, however, the location of the cage is going to be in an area that doesn’t have a lot of water movement which will create stagnant waste water to build up; Ideally, the cage belongs out at sea, where it’s going will turn it into a huge berley pot.
OTHER MISCELLANEOUS PROBLEMS:
Whale migration will be affected as more sharks and other predatory species are drawn into the area, just like tourists, they will skip the South Coast all together.
Hordes of seagulls surrounding the cage trying to eat the fish feed. Beachfront businesses already have a big enough issue with seagulls harassing customers.
We feel, that the tuna cage is going to do more damage than good on both an environmental and economical level and it’s angered us that the council went ahead and approved this without consulting the entire south coast community. We’re all for progress, we’d love to see these places thrive again, but there are so many better options out there.
So please help us to help the South Coast Community and our legacy.
Thank you for your time.