Our oceans face many risks, amongst others, pollution from plastics, chemicals and oil spills, habitat destruction, ocean acidification, overfishing and destructive fishing practices.
These risks not only harm marine ecosystems and biodiversity but also threaten the livelihoods and food security of millions of people who depend on the ocean for their survival.
Sustainable aquaculture through exemplary practises
Tassal Group’s (Tassels) Proserpine Prawn Farm in North Queensland spans over 200 hectares enabling the farm to produce fresh Australian prawns from November to May. The farm received Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification in 2019, reflecting their commitment to sustainability and protecting the environment. BAP is the only aquaculture certification program in the world that certifies every step of the production chain.
NGH has worked with our client since 2018 when we first designed their Receiving Environment Monitoring Plan (REMP). The REMP is a systematic and ongoing monitoring initiative that aims to assess the impact of aquaculture activities on the receiving environment. s part of their approval processes under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 covering environmental approval for activities, such as prawn farming, which potentially release contaminants into the environment, in this case, water.
Proserpine Prawn Farms’ REMP was first implemented in September 2019, with our team providing a range of services to support the monitoring program.
We conduct monthly water quality sampling at three waterways and two bays surrounding the farm. Mangrove monitoring is carried out both in the field, and remotely using satellite imagery to understand the vegetation health. We support coastal processes monitoring to understand erosion, water level and tidal prisms. We also conduct seagrass monitoring at approximately 140 sites for abundance and distribution, and measure assess photosynthetic active radiation light via installed loggers to measure turbidity that may be arising from the aquaculture facility.
Turbidity refers to the cloudiness or haziness of water caused by suspended particles, such as sediment or organic matter. High levels of turbidity can affect the growth and health of seagrass by reducing the amount of light that penetrates the water. Seagrass, like other plants require sunlight for photosynthesis. If the water is too cloudy, less light will be available for seagrass to carry out this process and impact the overall health, not only of seagrass, but the ecosystem as a whole.
We analyse the data collected through these monitoring activities to formulate annual reports. The reports are then compared limits and conditions in the Environmental Authority (EA), Environmental Protection (Water and Wetland) Policy, and scientific literature to ensure compliance and understand the environmental conditions.
This comprehensive monitoring program allows for the early detection of any potential impacts to the receiving environment and enables the Proserpine Prawn Farm team to take prompt action to mitigate any negative effects.
Our findings, including those in our most recent annual report, have consistently revealed no impact to the receiving environment beyond natural conditions. We continue to work closely with the Tassal Group to update their REMP based on published literature and scientific knowledge.
We are constantly evolving our approach, taking into account our client’s requirements and their expansions. With departments changes to policies and best practice, we are there to facilitate middle ground and look forward to what the client is looking to do and implementing enough in advance that we can safely predict and help the client.
Contact Shannon Goodwin to learn more about sustainable aquaculture practises.