Tasmania’s temperate environment provides excellent conditions for the state’s rapidly expanding aquaculture industry. Marine farming has grown rapidly in Tasmania from the 1990s and is now one of Tasmania's major industries with a value of over $500 million in 2008-09. In 2002, there were 190 licensed farms covering more than 3,000 hectares of water . Other industries have also grown up around Tasmania's marine farming industry, creating additional economic and employment benefits to the State.
The marine farming industry is regulated by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) under the Living Marine Resources Management Act 1995and the Marine Farming Planning Act 1995, Under the latter Act, marine farming development plans are prepared, designating areas in State waters where marine farming may occur.
All marine farming operations must be licensed under the Living Marine Resources Management Act. Licences include environmental conditions to ensure that marine farming operations are sustainable and do not have an unacceptable impact on the marine environment.
Marine species farmed in Tasmania
In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services manages the Tasmanian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program under the Public Health Act 1997 and the Food Act 1998. This includes monitoring water quality in shellfish growing areas and the public health status of shellfish on marine farms, to ensure the safety of farmed shellfish for human consumption. The Tasmanian Aquaculture Council represents the views of the majority of the shellfish industry and the State Government is directly involved through DPIW, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute.
An important component of maintaining the industry is thorough and ongoing research - currently directed towards improving management of the fisheries in relation to sustainability, stock health and production efficiency. The Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute (TAFI) is a marine research centre that supports the development and sustainable management of living marine resources. TAFI is a joint venture between the Tasmanian Government and the University of Tasmania.