Tasmanian salmon industry faces major risks

The Australia Institute Tasmania today released a new report Salmon stakes: Risks for the Tasmanian salmon industry, outlining the serious risks Tasmania’s salmon industry faces if its environmental and social impacts are not managed.

“The salmon industry is important to Tasmania and has tripled in size over a decade. Rapid growth is always brings problems, especially for an industry with considerable environmental impact,” said Leanne Minshull, Director of the Australia Institute Tasmania.

“The industry is heavily exposed to the domestic market with almost 90% of salmon sold in Australia. If Australian consumers react to local concerns about pollution and farming methods, the impacts on the industry and the state could be disastrous,” said Minshull.

A nationwide survey of 1,421 Australian residents, conducted by The Australia Institute through Research Now between 17 and 26 September 2017 found that the Tasmanian salmon industry’s reputation is already suffering. 

The survey showed that among those who like choosing salmon as a meal option:

  • Two in five (39%) people had heard of negative environmental impacts from salmon farming in Tasmania
  • One in seven (15%) said concerns over environmental impacts had stopped them from purchasing Tasmanian salmon in the past six months.

“If just 20% of Australians switch from Tasmanian salmon to imported salmon, it could result in a loss to Tassal and Huon salmon farmers of over $122 million in a year, drastically reducing earnings and leaving the industry struggling to modernise and invest in sustainability,” said Minshull.

“The drive for higher profits gambles with more than just investors’ return on equity, it gambles with jobs, other marine industries and the clean, green reputation of the state,” said Minshull, Director of The Australia Institute Tasmania.

Previous polling by the Institute reveals a gap between the expectations of Tasmanians and the government and industry’s behaviour. 

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