Salmon farming in Tasmania - Environment Tasmania

Salmon farming in Tasmania

Environment Tasmania has campaigned hard on the Tasmanian salmon industry. We are not against the salmon industry per se, but we strongly believe that any industry operating in public waters using natural resources must be operating in an environmentally sustainable way with strong regulation from the government. This unfortunately is not the case in Tasmania, and with the recent sale of Tassal to Cooke Aquaculture, now all three salmon companies are owned by multi-national corporations.

We have successfully lobbied WWF to drop their endorsement of Tassal's brand and worked with fishers to end the shameful seal relocation program. We lobbied Australian Ethical to drop their investment in Tassal and we pushed for Tassal’s unsustainable operations in Macquarie Harbour to lose their Eco-Certification, prompting a review of ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) standard. Our exposure of the scandalous mismanagement of Macquarie Harbour also meant that the total tonnage of salmon for Macquarie Harbour was dropped. We delivered a 40,000-strong petition to Coles and Woolworths to label their salmon ‘farmed’ and to be more transparent. Worked with some of Australia's highest profile chefs - like Maggie Beer, Matthew Evans, Palisa Anderson and Rodney Dunne to raise awareness of issues regarding farmed salmon. This has led to Australian food media all but erasing farmed salmon from their pages, and key businesses like Josh Niland’s (Saint Peter, The Fish Butchery) and Kylie Kwong (Lucky Kwong) have moved from championing the product to taking it off their shelves and plates entirely. 

Most people think eating Australian salmon is a healthy choice. But there's a catch - Tasmanian salmon isn't wild, it's farmed. Industrial salmon farms in Tasmania dump 10.6 million kg of poo a year into our oceans, creating marine ‘dead zones’ under salmon pens. Large boats and farm infrastructure are spreading into endangered species habitat - like endangered whale calving habitat on Tasmania's east coast. And because it takes almost 2kg of wild fish to make 1kg of farmed salmon, salmon farming is emptying our oceans of fish. 

Have a look at our Consumers Scorecard below for how the Salmon companies and major supermarkets are performing: