Tassal the worst performer on the ASX yesterday, as global price drops met local fish kills

Yesterday Tassal share price fell by 6.5% after a stockbroker downgraded the stock, and their clients sold out. This was largely in response to the downward trend in global salmon prices, but analysts will be watching fish kills in Macquarie Harbour closely, as the Tasmanian EPA has confirmed an outbreak of the Pilchard Orthomyxovirus (POMV) (1) in Macquarie Harbour on Tasmania’s West Coast and at Huon Aquaculture leases in the South East.  

In the face of market response, Environment Tasmania has reiterated calls for Tassal to disclose the number of fish it has lost in Macquarie Harbour this month, and for the EPA to release state wide figures for salmon mortalities related to POMV.

High prices may have absorbed high mortalities, but as prices drop, producers will become more vulnerable to the losses and increased costs associated with diseases such as POMV.

"Tassal must disclose details of its fish kills to the Tasmanian public and the market,” says Laura Kelly, Strategy Director, Environment Tasmania.” And the EPA needs to end the secrecy around reporting on fish kills, especially fish kills related to major threats to biosecurity such as POMV.”

POMV, like ISA, is an orthomyxovirus. ISA has decimated salmon farming industries from Chile to the Faroe Islands, cutting production by up to half.

(1) http://www.abc.net.au/radio/hobart/programs/mornings/epa-salmon-deaths/9206012

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