The head of the Scallop Fishermen’s Association of Tasmania has said fishers will take any action necessary to prevent seismic testing later this year in the Bass Strait.
Appealing before a Senate committee on seismic testing on Wednesday, Mr Hammond said recalled how previous seismic testing near Flinders Island more than 10 years ago had correlated with a decimation of scallop stock.
The industry has previously claimed that 24,000 tonnes of scallops, with a retail value of more than $70 million were lost.
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Beach Energy is planning to undertake a three-dimensional marine seismic survey near King Island between October and December to assess natural gas reservoirs.
The survey is expected to take around 50 days to complete, subject to weather.
The company has excluded some scallop beds from the area they can test in.
But Mr Hammond said the testing would still be down near an area which would provide good future stock.
He said negotiations with Beach Energy to co-fund surveys, particularly to record biomass estimates, had gone nowhere.
Mr Hammond said without the extensive surveys, it would be difficult to claim compensation if stock was impacted by seismic activity.
He said fishers would be prepared to undertake protest action, including any methods to disrupt seismic testing by the company.
“It certainly won’t go down quietly given what we have seen [near Flinders Island],” he said. “I don’t think the operators that are left now are going to sit back and quietly let this happen.”
Tasmanian Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson is chairing the inquiry.
After the hearing, he said Tasmanian fishers faced troubling time.
“What we heard today is that consultation processes have broken down, compensation schemes are still to be enforced, testing permit terms are set by the oil and gas companies themselves and there are huge gaps in research,” he said.
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