Clean up Fish Farms

Clean up Fish Farms




Intensive fish farming in coastal areas is one of the greatest threats to Tasmania's marine values. While the industry started small, at just 53 tonnes a year in 1983, it now produces 40,000 tonnes a year and has plans to double production by 2030.  

The main reason open pen salmon farming damages the marine environment is because the industry doesn't bother to capture its waste - which just settles on the sea floor and enters the water column. Waste produced by salmon farming includes uneaten fish food, fish faeces and urine and organic matter from net-cleaning. 

Environment Tasmania is not against salmon farming, we just want the Government to regulate it properly to make sure fish farms don't go into areas that are high conservation value and can't support the amount of pollution salmon farming leaves in the ocean. Unfortunately, the industry is currently looking to expand into important conservation areas - like Tassie's stunning Sapphire Coast.



Showing 31 reactions

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  • Agnayi Aktic
    commented 2018-11-22 17:50:08 +1100
    I can see only two ways to stop the fish farms from polluting: a crash in the financial market so huge that the exports stop, or encouraging artisan fishing with small fishing vessel to offer the people that work at this farms a better deal – make small fishing cooperatives – get the cooperatives to buy boats, educate the Fishing cooperatives to fish sustainable, when business become big the people investing in them become greedy and they forget anything else, nothing matters just to keep making profits
  • Richard Stanford
    commented 2018-10-19 19:16:46 +1100
    Destroying the environment is not necessary, to make a living. There are ways to farm fish responsibly, just do it or pack up your business.
  • Pamela Davis
    commented 2018-10-19 17:36:33 +1100
    I am a fish eating vegetarian. I no longer eat any fish from Tasmania because of the low standards of fish husbandry in these farms. Disgraceful.
  • Victoria von Witt
    commented 2018-09-27 14:28:06 +1000
    There is a major problem with waste and also with diseased fish affecting the wild marine environment. Our rare wild areas on both land and in the sea need full protection.
  • Jack Binder
    commented 2018-09-27 09:25:12 +1000
    If you want to see what growing tonnes of fish in enclosed waters will do watch these vids taken at Macquarie Harbour
  • Ponguin Curly
    commented 2018-09-26 17:38:33 +1000
    REAL fish farmers farm everything ON LAND and recycle their waste and used water! Why can’t Tasmanian regulators bring all the fish farming on land and BE sustainable!? Petuna Huon and Tassal are NO real fish farmers – they just rip offf the country endlessly!
    A very concerned tourist from Switzerland
  • Sherie Haines
    commented 2018-09-26 17:35:30 +1000
    Clean up out salmon farms or your customers will deplete
  • James Kenyon
  • Ravat Arjan
    commented 2018-03-24 23:52:47 +1100
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  • Donald Muir
    commented 2017-12-31 15:26:00 +1100
    This sort of aquaculture wrecks the naturally occurring ecosystem beneath the fish pens
    Must be exercised in a tightly controlled and limited fashion !
    The pens also detract from the natural beauty of the bonny locations they are situated in (and I’m speaking as a visitor from Scotland who has seen it all before at home there)
  • Andreas Bimba
    commented 2017-09-27 06:10:46 +1000
    The Tasmanian government should instead of expanding this environmentally mismanaged industrial scale fish farming industry – lobby for more federal government funding for Tasmania and plan for the development of environmentally sustainable jobs in Tasmania like responsibly designed pumped hydro, electricity exports to the mainland especially during peak demand periods, high value plantation forest products processing, responsible tourism, ecologically sustainable agriculture, wind power, niche shipbuilding, specialist manufacturing, investing in rail freight and public transport, investing in basic to higher education and similar. The Tasmanian government could instead think of Tasmania as a small ‘Scandinavian country’, be bold and forward thinking, socially inclusive and protect Tasmania’s highly valuable natural environment that is your biggest asset along with your people.

    Learn more about macroeconomics and you will realise the federal government’s deficit is not debt at all but represents an expansion of the money supply which is essential for economic growth. Economic growth must however be managed concurrently to reduce our environmental burden for example by rapidly transitioning to clean energy and true environmental sustainability as well as by investing in important areas like education and healthcare and not for more wasteful and ultimately unsatisfying consumerism.
  • Tom Gunn
    commented 2017-09-11 21:24:11 +1000
    Geoffrey Hill must be an expert on whale migration to make such a statement that there is zero effect. Like there is zero footprint period. Wow more BS.
  • Geoffrey Hill
    commented 2017-09-11 16:46:28 +1000
    hello ET – i am responding to a reply today on my (malfunctioning) phone from one of your team.
    It was a polite reply – but I must disagree with it.
    Your organisation is worried about salmon farmings impact on migrating whales – some of your arguments have some merit – but this one does not hold up at all. Salmon farming has a near zero – if not zero impact on whales – if you want a valid target for this cause – please focus on recreational , commercial and cruise ship shipping – collectively they cause vastly more injury and death to whales than anything aquaculture can do. I guess Im requesting for your organisation to keep that in perspective.
  • Nick Direen
    commented 2017-08-03 04:29:58 +1000
    Never heard of a Sapphire Coast in Tassie. The Australian Sapphire Coast is in NSW:
    Is ET being sponsored by the Federal Group?
  • Charlotte Dilger
    commented 2017-06-28 11:19:42 +1000
    You have another choice if you want to eat Atlantic Salmon. 41 Degrees South Tasmania is an inland salmon farm growing in fresh water and using a wetland as a natural biofilter for the fish waster. There in no negative impact on the environment.
  • john mckenna
    commented 2017-06-23 17:34:01 +1000
    Intensive fish farming is the ocean equivalent of cattle feedlots.
    When cattle feed lots started to become big business with large numbers of cattle concentrated in a very small area, it became apparent that the effluent and faeces and urine from these areas created environmental problems.
    These problems were to some extent addressed, and no longer is all the effluent hosed off and run into water ways, and now it has to be managed, and meet environmental criteria, and producers cooperate to try to run a clean industry.
    However, the ocean for some is just a big sewer, and run off from anything can end up there. Easier still if your farm in is in the ocean, and it all just falls through the net, out of sight.
    Fish farming is here to stay, but it hasn’t even been cleaned up to meet sustainable environmental requirements at 40,000 tons per year.
    I suggest a moratorium on growth until it can be shown that the ocean is not being treated as the fish farmers sewer.
    John McKenna. Veterinarian.
  • Sherie Haines
    commented 2017-06-22 18:03:43 +1000
    Farming conditions are appauling , I won’t eat it.
  • Vincent Wong
    commented 2017-06-22 17:33:39 +1000
    Have always not like farmed fish, and with more of their pollution, of course NO!
  • Tom Gunn
    commented 2017-05-24 16:44:51 +1000
    When will someone do an underwater enviromental survey with video to show what the salmon pens do to the ocean floor in the beautiful Huon , Esperance bay and Macquarie harbour to show what will happen to the new locations at Triabunna on the East coast.
  • john mckenna
    commented 2017-05-21 19:37:13 +1000
    I won’t eat Tasmanian farmed salmon after watching the 4Corners programme, and their retail shop is in walking distance of my home!
  • Pat Law
    commented 2017-05-21 19:00:24 +1000
    Salmon farmed this way turns me off. I no longer buy Tassel salmon after their farming conditions were shown on tv. Disgraceful…
  • john mckenna
    commented 2017-05-18 07:41:10 +1000
    Well Lexi. The same old argument to protect wrongdoing! It creates jobs, and we should trust the industry to self regulate. It hasn’t worked. That is why we are having this discussion.
  • john mckenna
    commented 2017-05-18 07:33:56 +1000
    The ocean is not the fish farmers to use as a sewer, and the EPA is being negligent and failing to do its job and do what it’s name and governance implies Protect the Environment.
  • Susan Turner
    commented 2017-05-17 18:12:24 +1000
    Regulate this industry now and ensure our conservation areas are protected. Lack has of action is criminal!
  • Sherie Haines
    commented 2017-05-17 17:41:08 +1000
    Clean up your salmon farming
  • Tom Gunn
    commented 2017-05-14 07:56:10 +1000
    Last night. Tassal is knocking trees down along the shore of the pristine Esperence river estuary destroying the peace and tranquility of the area with an industrial complex to produce massive fish pens they are somehow going to drag up from the upper estuary which is a shallow wetland. Turning what was a jewel to a industrial mess. Because they can. They appear to be a law unto themselves. The tow boats tearing up the estuary mud flats turning the water to a brown cloud throughout the system.
  • Kevin Dixon
    commented 2016-11-08 07:56:28 +1100
    Whilst I am not Tasmanian, I visit the State every year and have an interest to ensure the State does not lose it’s image of clean and green. Fish farming to those who do not fish or dive is great for the State in terms of employment and revenue. To those who dive especially near the pens, the sea floor is a wasteland, excuse the pun. What appears to be a shallow yellow cloud is in fact a shroud many metres deep and is the result of defecation, uneaten food etc. Once on the bottom, do not expect to see abs, scallops or fish as these areas are bereft of such marine life. Now Tassal are going to expand into Okehampton and as a result, that will be the end of marine life in the area. I understand the Government does not want to have all those currently working in the salmon industry,unemployed if they pull the pin on the current methodology of salmon farming, however, you cannot have your cakeand eat it. If Tassie want to retain their clean and green status as a a food supplier, then the Government will have to bite the bullet and change the manner in which salmon farmers do business.
  • Ruth Howard
    commented 2016-09-21 10:55:26 +1000
    Intensive salmon fish farming will double production by 2030 and currently producers dump the faeces and fish food wastes into pristine Tasmanian waters. These farms should implement clean up processes that dont cause damage to our coastline marine environments. The stunning Sapphire Coast including marine plants and animals as well as tourism businesses and others require protection from industrial scale waste.
  • Janice Feszt
    commented 2016-09-20 16:39:47 +1000
    I feel ashamed that so many millions of fellow Australians are unaware of this fish faeces and organic matter from net cleaning or uneaten fish food polluting the once pristine coastline of Tasmania and threatening the stunning Sapphire Coast as it is about to double production by 2030.
    They must implement a method of capturing their own waste urgently!
  • Graham Barnes
    commented 2016-09-20 15:45:38 +1000
    Why are you, the Tasmanian Government, condoning poisoning the waters of a beautiful coastline? Oh wait, it’s all about the money, isn’t it?