Latest News - Environment Tasmania

The Tasmanian Government's new 10 year plan for 'sustainable salmon'

Environment Tasmania's response to Barnett’s ‘10-year plan to sustainable salmon’

 

Here's a link to Barnett's plan

 

This plan is recognition from the government that the salmon industry needs urgent intervention and a regulation upgrade.  Environment Tasmania welcomes forward planning to clean up the mess that is the Tasmanian salmon industry and it’s flawed regulatory framework. 

 

For this initiative to be taken seriously by the community we need a diverse range of stakeholders including traditional owners and environment groups included in developing a meaningful  plan. The Tasmanian community, and salmon customers nationwide have lost trust in the Tasmanian government’s capacity to regulate this industry with an appropriate arms length. 


The changes to make the EPA more independent will only be significant if the EPA becomes an agent primarily concerned with the environment, not for profit for industry. 

 

“An immediate moratorium on new leases sounds promising, but in reality it’s lip service - there are many leases already established around Tasmania, and this gesture won’t hold the salmon industry back from heavy expansion and intensification. We want to see a moratorium on new farms going in the water and the immediate retirement of antiquated leases that wouldn’t be approved today”, said Jilly Middleton, lead marine campaigner at Environment Tasmania.



Jilly, 0419168086 for comment.

 

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New evidence of severe animal welfare abuses, and false reporting of seal kill numbers

Media Release 

 

18/06/21

 

New evidence of severe animal welfare abuses by the salmon industry, and false reporting of seal kill numbers 

 

 

New Right to Information documents have revealed Tasmanian Government staff called for an investigation into Tassal's severe mistreatment of seals, with horrific images of seals shot in the face at close range, suffering blunt trauma injury, wound infection and slowly bleeding to death.

 

“We were sickened when going through these images and reports - these seals have been brutalised with explosives and 12-gauge shotguns at close range and left to bleed to death,” says Laura Kelly, Environment Tasmania.”Then there is evidence of the Tasmanian Government refusing to enforce the Animal Welfare Act, despite repeated calls from their own staff to do so in the face of severe animal cruelty from Tassal.”

 

The RTI documents also confirm for the first time that the Tasmanian Government believes what the community have long suspected - salmon company reports of seal deaths are well below the actual number of seals being killed.

 

According to a DPIPWE wildlife biologist “these findings are probably a large underestimate of the proportion of seals that die due to approved and legislated deterrent use. This is also likely a large underestimate as many seals with injury/penetrating wounds resulting from deterrents would leave the area and die outside the lease area.”

The RTI documents contain evidence of DPIPWE staff calling for an investigation of Tassal, and suggesting that animal welfare abuses have been allowed to continue because of a lack of action by the Tasmanian Government. 



There is no evidence within the document that an investigation delivered any changes in practices. In fact, over the 3 years up to 31/1/2021, 3962 bean bag bullets containing lead shot and non-biodegradable kevlar were used against seals. 75,339 underwater explosives have been used with large numbers of distressing injuries and deaths reported. 

In an internal DPIPWE email, a member of the DPIPWE clearly states breaches of the Animal Welfare Act have not been prosecuted and that he believes ongoing abuses are happening because of a lack of oversight by the Tasmanian Government.

Environment Tasmania will write to the Tasmanian Integrity Commission requesting an investigation of the Tasmanian Government’s failure to implement the Animal Welfare Act, despite repeated calls from Government staff for action in the face of illegal cruelty to animals. 

For comment: Laura Kelly,  0401 559 335, Jilly Middleton, 0419 168 086. RTI059,  https://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/about-the-department/governance-policies-and-legislation/rti-disclosure-log.




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Grisly animal welfare abuses at salmon farms revealed in new Right to Information docments

Tasmania’s peak environment group is calling for independent observers and observer cameras to be installed immediately at all industrial salmon farms around the state, after a new Right to Information request revealed grisly details of animal cruelty, with over 80 dead dolphins and seals reported and more than 4000 seal bombs or ‘cracker deterrents’ used in a two year period. 

“This report on Tassal and Huon’s practices is a grisly, damning read, with decomposing dolphin heads, seals killed at close range by seal bombs and sedation darts, seals hauled panting and frothing on collars, seals 'hiding' under floats to avoid being shot and live and dead seals trapped together and left for over a week in salmon pens. And this is just what we know from industry self-reporting,” says Laura Kelly, Strategy Director at Environment Tasmania.

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Tasmania responsible for the first fish extinction in modern times - the Smooth Handfish

Media Release
14/7/20
Tasmania is responsible for the first fish extinction in modern times - as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) declares the Smooth Handfish officially extinct.
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In early June, Jessica Meeuwig, a professor at the University of Western Australia and director of the university’s Centre for Marine Futures, told international media that the smooth handfish likely disappeared due to habitat loss and destructive fishing practices like scallop trawling, and that the species’ extinction is “indicative of broader problems in how we continue to manage our oceans.”
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Tassal salmon reports 260-fold increase in antibiotic use

MEDIA RELEASE

18/05/20

A dramatic increase in antibiotic use by Tassal salmon has been revealed, following the release of the Global Salmon Initiative's (GSI's) so-called 'Sustainability Report' last week. According to the report, Tassal used 62.28 grams of antibiotics per tonne of salmon produced in 2019, compared with 0.24 grams per tonne in 2018.

 

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Tassal salmon reports 260-fold increase in antibiotic use

MEDIA RELEASE

18/05/20

A dramatic increase in antibiotic use by Tassal salmon has been revealed, following the release of the Global Salmon Initiative's (GSI's) so-called 'Sustainability Report' last week. According to the report, Tassal used 62.28 grams of antibiotics per tonne of salmon produced in 2019, compared with 0.24 grams per tonne in 2018.

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Environment group calls for 'three strikes and you're out' rule, as Huon salmon gets away with environmental crimes

MEDIA RELEASE
5/5/20

Tasmania's peak environment group has called for an immediate increase in fines for environmental crimes by big salmon companies, after Huon Aquaculture was fined just $40,000 for 6 breaches of environment laws this week. Environment Tasmania is also proposing a 'three strikes and you're out' rule for salmon companies, with suspension of operating licences for one year at sites with recurring breaches of environment notices.

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Release investigation into Tassal’s February listeria detection

Today Environment Tasmania has called for the immediate release of the investigation into detection of listeria in Tassal salmon in Queensland on February 11,  2019.

“Both Tassal and Premier Hodgman have failed to mention in media that Tassal products tested positive for listeria at a Queensland warehouse in February this year. According to a spokesperson for the Health Department, the deaths from listeriosis occurred between February 22 and June 7,” says Laura Kelly, Director of Environment Tasmania.

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Peak environment group accuses Tassal of breaking the rules in sustainability audit for controversial Okehampton Bay operations

Tasmanian fishing, community and environment groups have lodged a letter of complaint with the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), in the belief that Tassal, Australia’s largest salmon company, is breaching ASC standards in an effort to secure a green tick for its controversial Okehampton Bay operations on Tasmania’s east coast.

Tassal have pushed for an ASC audit of the company’s Okehampton Bay farm, despite the farm being in operation for under 12 months. The groups believe this breaches the ASC requirement that no farm is assessed prior to 18 months of operations or a full harvest cycle, to ensure the full impacts on the environment of a salmon growth cycle can be observed by auditors. Despite smolt going in at Okehampton Bay in August of last year, and the site only being stocked at half capacity in 2017, Tassal’s Okehampton Bay ASC assessment is happening now, with a community meeting to be held in Triabunna tomorrow, July 31st at 5.30pm.

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Morts pit revelations: Peak environment group demands release of mass mortality plan for Macquarie Harbour.

Environment Tasmania has again raised its concerns about the lack of transparency surrounding Macquarie Harbour fish kills, after today’s statement by West Coast Mayor Phil Vickers that Council has not been consulted on salmon industry plans to construct a new morts pit for dead salmon from its Macquarie Harbour operations.

“Government actively concealed the fact that 1.35 million salmon died in Macquarie Harbour over summer - a fact the public only discovered after a leak to media,” says Laura Kelly, Environment Tasmania.

 

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