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Salmon Farming

Since the 1990s, Tasmania’s salmon farming industry has rapidly expanded to the detriment of the marine environment and local communities. 

Salmon farming releases high loads of waste – poo and uneaten feed – into our public waterways that can cause algae blooms, reduced water quality and sea-floor degradation. 

Wild fish can be impacted by farm-derived diseases and antibiotics. Numerous fish escape events have left community members fearful of predation on wild fish species.

The industry has been exposed for alarming accounts of seals being trapped, shot, injured and killed at salmon farming sites. Other animal welfare concerns include large numbers of salmon that have died at farms on several occasions, the worst of which occurred over six months in 2016/17 when 1.35 million fish died in Macquarie Harbour due to low oxygen.

Concerningly, the environmental damage caused by the reckless expansion in Macquarie Harbour has also pushed the harbour’s Maugean skate near the brink of extinction. 

Coastal communities complain of noise and light pollution adjacent to fish farms. Meanwhile, plastic debris falling off farms and ending up on beaches or sometimes even perilously striking boats are common. 

Yet, despite a lack of social licence, the Tasmanian Government continues to support the industry’s expansion. In 2021, a Parliamentary Inquiry Report into the salmon industry made strong recommendations such as the ceasing of operations in sheltered, sensitive and biodiverse waters. Government has failed to act on these.

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