We respect there has been a lot of information in the media regarding the Tasmanian salmon industry. While we do not take lightly any of the issues discussed, we feel it is fundamentally important to communicate facts which are being omitted from public information.
The Tasmanian EPA has this week clarified a statement made by Huon Aquaculture to the press and confirmed that Tassal is not in breach of stocking levels in the Harbour.
• It is the waste output that matters in terms of the tonnage in the harbour and subsequent environmental impact. The waste capture system will minimise this significantly and is why the EPA has determined the levels set – both with and without an approved waste capture system. We have confidence in waste capture and disposal methods proposed. We have in-house expertise in waste management for fish – with this developed over 30 years dealing with hatcheries and other waste capture methods deployed throughout the company.
• Tassal is an industry pioneer and has a strong track record of being an innovative, solutions based company. The expectations of our community, shareholders and employees is to ensure we are sustainable and this means a successful waste capture system. This is a substantial investment for the company, based on careful research, and will be subject to management and monitoring both by Tassal and the independent regulator. We must look long term for all our investments.
• Waste capture systems for salmon farming have been used successfully in other countries. Conditions for fish farming are substantially different in Tasmania than in the northern hemisphere, so it is important that we trial methodologies that are most suitable to operating conditions.
• Tassal has a lot of expertise on capturing and disposing of fish waste – over 30 years in our hatcheries. It is a matter of applying this expertise to sea based operations.
What happened at Macquarie Harbour was unique, unexpected and at odds with Tassal’s strong record of sustainable production, science-based processes and careful stewardship. After a number of years of consistently high compliance ratings that were of global leadership standard, this event demonstrated that environmental stewardship must remain a focus; every minute, every day.
While we always strive for 100% compliance across our operations, and on average achieve a Tasmanian industry-leading 95%-plus. Recent events remind us that such high scores are achieved by balancing our long term focus on the science before production. The current position in Macquarie Harbour has highlighted that the Harbour is a complex waterway for us and the Tasmanian salmon industry to manage. That is why Tassal is investing substantially in protective waste capture methods above and beyond, to ensure the leadership standards we are globally renowned for are sustained.