Saturday, 12 December 2009

Salmon farming - how clean and green IS our salmon farming, asks the ABC?

Unfortunately I missed the 7.30 Report on ABC on Wednesday night but was told about it afterwards, and looked at a transcript of the broadcast online.

The gist of it was that: "Tasmania’s salmon industry is worth 350 million dollars and is growing rapidly; Atlantic salmon has become a staple on Australian tables. But the critics contend that while salmon is marketed as a clean green super food that's grown in pristine waters off Tasmania, the reality is it's more like the battery hen of the sea. They say a large number of antibiotics and other chemicals are used during farming, and that huge amounts of wild fish need to be caught to feed the hungry salmon."

The program put forward everyone's (Peter Bender from Huon Aquaculture, Mark Ryan from Tassal, Kim Booth from Tasmanian Greens, Ben Birt from Australian Marine Conservation Society, and David Suzuki environmentalist) opinions and thoughts on the matter in a rational and realistic way, but seemed to leave us up in the air about a final conclusion.

Maybe that is because there IS no final conclusion as yet, but serious doubts were raised about the ongoing effects of fallout of the specially formulated salmon fish food which automatically is distributed into the whole water environment when the salmon in their pens are fed. Concern was expressed about random fishermen out fishing - not around a salmon farming area of a river - but catching fish which have eaten salmon farm fish food that has been carried away by the water currents. The fear was that a family eating the fish caught by the fisherman could be affected by some of the chemicals contained in the salmon food.

I don't profess to be any kind of authority on this subject, but I'd say there are grounds to look further into what we eat, and ensure our marine environment (precarious as it is) is as healthy as we can make it.
Posted on by Rita


Barry said...

I'm sure if the general public on the mainland were aware of how enviromentally unsustainable salmon farming is & how much they pollute the areas in which their pens are, they would'nt be as inclined to buy it.
Its a peculiar bit of greenwashing-spin that has punter belive that this product comes from Tasmania's pristine waters + anitbiotics + 4kg of wild fish for every 1kg farmed salmon + tonnes of detritis from their pens

lemon curd said...

Totally off subject, but I'm currently enjoying a beer in this beautiful sunshine at the new James Squire bar (called The Generous Squire) down where Sals used to be.
Great refit and their menu (separate breakfast and lunch/dinner) looks really great! Certainly a pub menu but lots of sharing things, seafood, pasta & great hearty looking meat dishes... Makes me wish I was eating here tonight instead of somewhere else!!

Stop!!! said...

Yet another dig from Tasmanians at people from the "Mainland". I lived in Tassie and got sick of being called "from the Mainland" in a derogatory way. Quite possibly the most backwards society in the country. I've seen more racism, bad drivers, bad customer service and much more in that state than just about anywhere else on the planet. I've travelled to most countries in most continents for work and it's right up there.

I once saw a group of locals at t42, screaming out nigger to a bunch of (assumingly) Nigerians who didn't speak english. And people at other table from all age groups were laughing. Disgusting. And seeing Aboriginal people being looked down on in the street is shocking. Grow up Tasmania. Your like a spoilt child living in the 1800's. 1800's values, with a lot of money who wants to play with the big boys but can't handle it when you get called out on your own problems. The sad thing is, most people in my network of colleagues, acquaintances and friends recognise this as being a problem in Tasmania and associate it with Tasmania. Often.

Rita said...

I think you've got the wrong end of the stick here Stop!!!
No one (Tasmanian or ABC 7.30 Report - which btw is a mainland-produced program)is having a dig at people from the mainland. They were actually saying that if mainlanders who bought the product which apparently is sold under the 'clean, green, pristine waters of Tassie' banner were more aware of the conditions under which the salmon is farmed, they would be more wary of it

I take your point about insular Tasmanians and their attitudes (and wholeheartedly agree in a lot of situations that I too have witnessed), but that's a different subject.

Tasmanians can be their own worst enemy - but that's not what this post was about.

Stop!!! said...

Yes I know Rita. I went to Hobart for a few days a week ago for work and got the usual treatment from mentioning I'm from Sydney. Just a bit sensitive and over it. Tassie is nice to visit, just don't mention your not from Tassie!

Rita said...

I think we Tasmanians can actually tell if you're not from here!
I saw a snippet of something on TV as I was walking through the room recently that basically said, we love the tourist dollar but can't they just send the money, with the inference being that we don't actually want the tourists to come here in person, but just want their money!)

Loved that! Seemed to typify what many seem to think!

Anonymous said...

There is a pattern to the attitude of any group of locals to increasing tourist numbers.

Stage 1. In the beginning locals find tourists interesting and find that they bring financial benefit so its all smiles. We are pleased that they know about us and have come here. We want them to tell all their friends so more and more come!

Stage 2 After a while we find new ways to get extra money off them and they don't care. All good so far. This is the best stage all round.

Stage 3 Stage 2 goes on for a while and then we take the cash for granted and pretty well ignore them.

Stage 4 The last stage is when the masses of tourists simply become a nuisance, the locals can't get a table at their favourite restaurant and the bars are full of drunken idiots speaking funny languages.
Thats when the real fun starts.

I wonder where we are now?

Take the cruise ships for example. They have been coming to Hobart for years and I reckon we are at stage 3. In Burnie though you have the mayor welcoming every ship and personel assigned to look after them, Burnie would have to be at stage 1 or 2!


duckleg said...

and strahan is stage 4!

Forde Montgomery said...

Once you start farming anything, it's a slippery slope towards serious environmental damage. This is why in the UK wild Salmon fetches a huge premium and farmed salmon (like our clean, green, prestige type) is cheap! Sadly there are just too many mouths to feed (even discounting the 1 billion+ who without) so a farming we do go. Just stop having kids already!
You think its bad being from Sydney in Tasmania, try being from Tasmania in Sydney! Pfft!