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MEDIA RELEASE: Out-of-sight, out-of-mind salmon farming kills more wildlife

Thirty six Great Cormorants were recorded to have died at a Tassal salmon farm at the end of last year and another 53 were shot, with permission from the Tasmanian government.  This information has been uncovered only after a Rights to Information Request was made by the Tasmanian Inquirer.

Early in the piece when Tassal first noticed cormorant trapped in their pens in December 2023, they could have upgraded their infrastructure to more appropriately size mesh, smaller mesh that cormorants can’t push through and become entangled. They chose not to do so at that moment. After a large number of birds became entangled, they obtained a permit to put to dozens of birds to death. 


"What era are we in when an industry that the government is spruiking to be world-class, is shooting protected species. This is completely unacceptable, this is 2024." says Rebecca Howarth, Marine Campaigner for Environment Tasmania.

"It is an absolute tragedy that the death of these cormorants was avoidable with the right size netting. Soon after the incidents, Tassal upgraded their netting to a smaller mesh size, from 100mm to 70mm which was appropriate sizing. So these cormorants died needlessly.

"Tassal are operating in public waters owned by Tasmanians, and the public’s expectation, if they are going to do so, is that marine life should not die at their farms. And tragically they do. Every single year, seals and birds die at fish farms in Tasmania."

"An incident like this could happen again. We just don’t know how widespread are the issues of poorly maintained nets, or inappropriate mesh size. It is totally unacceptable. The Tasmanian government must commence an full audit of all farm infrastructure immediately to ensure more seabirds don't die needlessly."

MEDIA CONTACT: Rebecca Howarth, 0493 395868


Photo by Eric Woehler of Black-faced cormorants, cousins of the Great cormorant

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