Down On The Farms

Stu Nettle picture
Stu Nettle (stunet)
Swellnet Dispatch

To what do surfers owe the watery world beyond the impact zones we play in?

To what do large multinationals owe the locals who live on Tasmania's waterways?

Last week, Steve Shearer wrote an article on the ethics of shark control, which in part defended humans using the nearshore zone for food and recreation. Utilising marine environments, was, according to Steve, "a fundamental part of our human story."

Over the last four decades this same argument has been taken to perverse extremes in the waters of Tasmania. What began as a small boutique industry has become something far more complex and insidious. In 1986, shortly after salmon farming began in Tasmania, 55 tonnes of salmon were produced. That annual figure is now 84,000 tonnes and climbing.

Relying on an 'out of sight, out of mind' modus operandi, the three salmon farming companies operating in Tasmania are expanding their reach across Tasmania's waterways. This is not to discount Steve's earlier hypothesis, an anthropologist could draw a long and meandering line between Aboriginal fish traps and industrial fish farms. However, that doesn't make it right, especially not when a lack of industry oversight has seen a staggering imbalance arise with nearshore environments collapsing under the weight of untreated sewage and excess nutrients, among other environmental blights.

And yet still the companies seek to expand their fish pens, first to Macquarie Harbour, where they've driven the Maugean skate to the brink of extinction, then eyeing off the east coast of King Island, and now the coastline of neighbouring Flinders Island. All this set against the backdrop of government indifference but, thankfully, increasing civic scrutiny.

Recently, Swellnet chatted to Mick Lawrence, Tasmania's silver grommet and discoverer of its most famous wave, about the battle brewing in his home state.

All images taken from 'Paradise Lost'

Swellnet: How long has the salmon farming industry been in Tasmania?
Mick Lawrence: The first attempt was back in the early days of settlement. In order to appease their acute homesickness, the British surrounded themselves with anything to remind them of what they’d left behind. Things like oak trees, blackbirds, starlings, sheep, cattle, dogs. In 1862, trout and salmon ova were raised to smolt at the purpose built Salmon Ponds, north of New Norfolk. Upon release, the salmon high tailed back to the Old Dart, while the trout headed upstream where they established themselves as the ace predator of our inland lake and river systems.

The latest foray into salmon farming began in the late 1970’s as a boutique industry. Since then it’s morphed into an industrial giant.

Appreciating that the salmon industry is inordinately larger now than it was when it began, was it ever a good idea to farm salmon in Tasmania?
From a commercial perspective it began well. A small boutique industry with no local competition and a niche market. But greed took over and they moved from local deli cabinets to national supermarket aisles. The industry is now locked in, slaves to the growth machine. It’s difficult to see how they could scale back now. I don’t think such a notion would cut it with the dudes at the top.

As to sustainability. That’s a salmon farmer’s version of Warnie’s ’ball of the century‘. It takes around 1.5 kg of protein to grow 1 kg of salmon. Their feed includes krill and wild fish oil. That’s not what I understand sustainable to mean.

Resistance has increased, especially in the last five years. Is this due to a ramping up of scale, thereby affecting more people, or a grassroots campaign finding their voice?
The community voice has certainly got louder of late. I think that’s a combination of massive industry expansion, its environmental consequences and a disconnect between our government and industry on one hand and us, the stakeholders on the other. It’s simply a fundamental difference in values. Exploiters vs Custodians.

Richard Flanagan’s book 'Toxic' captured the public interest to the point where some 70% of Tasmanians now want fish farming out of our waters. And their voice is being channeled through a very active environmental cohort. The tide of public opinion has certainly turned.

If the industry is meeting resistance, why are they expanding so rapidly?
It’s a case of follow the money. The salmon dollar not only speaks loudly, it’s also extremely convincing and aggressive. Unfortunately rather than serve the public interest, our leaders have been seduced by the promise of jobs and growth. The end result is a doubling of production over the next seven years and having fucked up our shallow waterways, their only option is to fuck up the deeper waters of Storm Bay. That’s the recreational playground of urban Hobart - and the natives are pissed off.

These days you spend more time in the hull of a kayak than the deck of a board. Have you kayaked the Huon River, Port Esperance, or Macquarie Harbour waterways? If so, what have you observed?
Yeah. I spent several years exploring those waterways, moving at a pace that allows you to take in the detail - and the detail was disturbing. For anyone who loves this island’s natural heritage the visual impact of once picture perfect rivers and bays being turned into industrial feedlots is devastating.

They’re like cancer cells on the rampage. Below the pens it’s even worse, once vibrant ecosystems replaced by piles of fish shit and slime. The adjoining shorelines strewn with farm debris: bits of nylon rope, lengths of plastic piping, layers of nano plastic. We’re witnessing the creation of a toxic nightmare.

Aside from industrialising quiet waterways and the threat of escaped fish, perhaps the most profound problem is faecal waste. Unlike human waste, or even farm animal waste, the waste from farmed salmon is allowed to wash untreated into Tassie’s waterways. What are the known effects, and can anything be done such as capture or recycling? 
Tragically more and more of our magnificent waterways are becoming septic tanks. The current output of crap from fish farms exceeds the island’s human sewerage many times over. That’s environmental vandalism. But it doesn’t have to be. The founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, has invested billions in coming up with a model on-land farming system for the future. There is no loss in production, it eliminates most environmental issues and converts fish crap into compost. He’s aware we need to produce food and jobs and he’s showing us how to do it.

Whether anyone takes notice remains to be seen.

There are currently three companies farming salmon in Tasmania, none of which are Australian-owned. Does this matter?
It seems more than a coincidence that the industry, which until recent times was controlled by three companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, has now been gobbled up by private overseas interests to whom previous rigid reporting systems don’t apply.

The industry in the northern hemisphere is in a state of transition. Countries bent on best practice are forcing farms out of the water and onto land. They’ve also introduced more stringent environmental protocols, along with an increase in direct taxation. Now, if your focus is the bottom line, why would you want to play on that level playing field. Surely you’d seek a surface more in line with your own goals?

With a compliant government and a toothless police force, our playgrounds must be seen as Salmon Nirvana to the likes of JBS. They're a mob known as the Butchers from Brazil, they are the biggest ‘protein’ producers in the world whose owners have done time for grand scale bribery and corruption and traditionally pay little to the ATO. Hardly the types to have our interests at heart.

Farmed Tasmanian salmon trades heavily on ‘brand Tasmania’, how does that sit with the reality on the ground?
We’ve worked hard to establish our clean/green brand, and it’s an iconic one. It symbolises who we are both as a place and a people. What’s more, it’s helped this island cast aside it’s image as an industrial/social backwater, to one producing sustainable, high quality goods and services.

Our brand is the envy of many - why trash it now?

You don’t have to read far into a news article on the issue, for an industry spokesperson to mention jobs. I know you like your numbers and stats, do you have any on salmon employment?
Jobs, jobs, jobs. It’s a tired mantra with it’s roots stretching back to feudal times. And it’s been the cornerstone of politicians and business spin ever since. Salmon Tasmania claims they provide in excess of 5,000 direct jobs while the Australia Institute sets that number at just 1,500. Put another way, salmon farming is the island’s leading primary producer, yet ranks 40th in terms of employment at .06%.

Between 2013 and 2018, the industry turned over near $4 billion, paid $64 million in tax - effectively a rate of 15% - and received back around $10 million in subsidies. It pays no council rates on its marine leases and less than $1 million for use of our waterways and fresh water. No wonder they’re here, that’s less than 0.1% of what they push through the farm gate.

A short flight with Google Earth shows pens in many of Tassie’s south-east waterways. There’s also been plans for pens off King Island and Flinders Island too. What stage are those plans up to?
After a short moratorium on expansion, the government recently released it’s Salmon plan for the future. A slick brochure full of glossy photos and void of detail. A plan without a plan. But they need space for another 4-500 pens and the southeast, Bass Strait and King and Flinders islands are all displayed on their map as suitable locations. While we thought we’d won the battle over the classic peaks of Martha Lavinia, it appears the war’s not over yet by a long shot.

It’s the stuff of David and Goliath. But we do have a battle plan - collecting an arsenal of sharp rocks while convincing consumers to stop eating Tassie salmon.

Lastly, much is made of salmon’s health benefits - Omega 3 and all that. What are your thoughts?
Yeah. If I was marketing salmon I’d do the same. Creating a positive image is the marketing game and they play it well. A humungous amount of money goes into creating a brand and they’ve tapped into our state brand well. The reality is there are a lot of independent scientists who disagree. Seems farmed salmon may actually be more pink and putrid than clean and green.

The pink flesh of wild salmon is due to astaxanthin -  a chemical acquired from eating krill and smaller fish. Without it the flesh would be a bland grey, not exactly enticing to the consumer’s eye. So the farmer’s lace their feed with colour additives selected from a colour swatch, like they have in paint shops. Different farmers select different shades to match their market research into what shade their consumers prefer.

They also nuke the fish with antibiotics to boost their immune system, some of those antibiotics are banned in other parts of the world. As to Omega 3, there’s a lot of independent science indicating salmon contains more harmful fats than a Big Mac Burger. Of course industry argues to the contrary. If I were them, so would I - but I’m not, so I don’t eat the stuff. I’d sooner die of cynicism than carcinogenic poisoning.

Surfers can best get on board by simply not eating Tasmanian farmed salmon and spread the word. Hit the salmon industry where it hurts - in their back pocket. Every lost sale helps.


Tooold2bakook's picture
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Tooold2bakook Thursday, 21 Sep 2023 at 5:40pm

Mick makes a good case. Very difficult to find meat or fish that's ethical and sustainable

stanfrance's picture
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stanfrance Friday, 22 Sep 2023 at 12:05pm

Yep, Mick sounds like he has a good grip on most aspects of the Salmon industry. Problem as you pointed out Tooold is that if you peak under the hood of most food production systems you won't like what you see.

I have worked in depth in fisheries, horticulture and ag.....the last 2 have caused a vast amount of environmental damage (more than aquaculture) and have a lot to do with the unprecedented extinction rate of modern times.

I think the answer lies in smaller, more localised food production systems where you can see more of what's going on. I am keeping my fingers crossed the national nature repair market has a positive influence in food production by helping incentivize more responsible farming systems. I just wish it would all happen much faster!

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bonza Friday, 22 Sep 2023 at 1:38pm

Agreed stan. But I'm very sceptical about the enviro market movement. Its ripe for exploitation by wall st bankers, cowboy facilitators and dodgy science. Its got of crap outcomes and cronyism written all over it. You only need to look at the recent Chugg reviews on the national carbon credit units or look over the range at the water traders in the basin to see how easy these corporate driven schemes are designed to, or can be manipulated.

Polluters should pay. The best way to do that is with a penalty tax and better regulation. If only...

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stanfrance Friday, 22 Sep 2023 at 3:43pm

Fair bump Bonza, but those are signs of healthy and much needed critique (and with any luck queues for improvement) to a very new system. There's no way people are going to get this right 1st time. The best we can hope for is that these systems evolve rapidly and get mainstream uptake. Business should be penalized for poor practice but incentivized and rewarded equally for improved performance.

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tubeshooter Thursday, 21 Sep 2023 at 6:06pm

Wouldn't eat the shit if you paid me.
So many people don't even realise they're farmed, yet alone what goes in them.
I've been doing my bit to spread the word , have been for years.

And that JBS company is scum.

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monkeyboy Thursday, 21 Sep 2023 at 6:52pm

Farmed salmon tastes like shit and is probably full of antibiotics. Dont touch it. I suspect Australia is not the target market though; we are after all a "mine with a farm attached" to the rest of the world.

zenagain's picture
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zenagain Thursday, 21 Sep 2023 at 7:07pm

Good article. I rarely eat salmon because of the above. Also, check out the Norwegian Salmon farming industry. They're not much better.

If I eat it it's usually wild caught Russian Salmon. Therein lies the conundrum.

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spencie Friday, 22 Sep 2023 at 6:41am

In the ten years I've lived in Tassie I have witnessed the sort of nepotism and corruption that was prevalent in Queensland in the 1980s. Watching the local politicians doing interviews on TV is an exercise in spin and outright lies. No end to their capacity to screw the environment, whether it be fish farms or native forest. And don't get me started on mass tourism and increased immigration.

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nadsy Friday, 22 Sep 2023 at 7:19am

The ratio of fat in the farmed salmon is different to the wild caught, that might cause more inflammation rather than reducing it.

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JackStance Friday, 22 Sep 2023 at 7:58am

You mean the government and the corporations are corrupt?!
Surprise. surprise.
Their DNA is to increase wealth and power by every means possible: Corruption; Economic Injustice; War; Militarism; Ecocide.
And by the time the people finally organise and finally hold them to account in a proper and substancial manner, it will be too late because a cashless digital society is the nail in the coffin of civic society: just turn off the money and living needs of dissidents.
CBDCs and digital IDs are on the verge of being rolled out globally: See G20 in the last day or so:

The anti-imperialist conspiracy theorists are right again.

Corruption; Economic Injustice; War; Militarism; and Ecocide. is the nature of Elite Power Structures. It is the source of their power and wealth, as well as the source of their risk - a risk that historically has been managed by every means possible, including genocide.

I read some deeply disturbing published journal articles on Australia's strongly supportive role in the slow genocide of West Papuas last night.

What has that got to do with corruption in Australian salmon farming? they both fall within modus operandi of Elite Power Structures: Corruption; Economic Injustice; War; Militarism; and Ecocide

Treasure your loved ones and get organised.

Mindora's picture
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Mindora Friday, 22 Sep 2023 at 8:19am

Nice way to dilute the message. I know you might feel strongly but is it not possible to put this distraction somewhere else on the website and save this thread for the topic at hand.

JackStance's picture
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JackStance Friday, 22 Sep 2023 at 8:08am

I mean, to get a better sense of what we're dealing with on the whole:

Just. read. this.

It's a 5 minute read, written 2 days ago, well written, well cited.

Godarren's picture
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Godarren Friday, 22 Sep 2023 at 9:25am

Are we living in glass houses?

Totally onside with Mick's position on salmon farming and also as highly uncomfortable about surfing's negative imprint on the environment.

And Spencie - anyone who has moved to Tassie in the past decade could well be considered a part of the mass tourism driven population surge.

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atticus Friday, 22 Sep 2023 at 9:45am

Well done on kicking this can down the road, Mick.

I got given a copy of Richard Flanagan's book and felt compelled to cut all Aust farmed salmon out of our diet immediately. Not sure how anyone could read it and not feel that way, and this is coming from someone of dietary indifference. At the time I remember thinking "if people only knew" so it's great that the topic is given airtime whatever the forum may be.

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Mick Lawrence Friday, 22 Sep 2023 at 12:01pm

While Richard's book 'Toxic' gives a Tasmanian perspective, it also helps to seek broader views as well. None more so than the birthplace of industrial salmon farming - Norway.

A new book - 'The New Fish' by Saetre and Ostli - gives such a perspective. Their stories of researchers being muzzled, science being distorted and the level of genetic manipulation are disturbing to the extreme.

If you're interested in the consequences of the large scale industrialisation of food production this is a good place to start.

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Queenyenfuego Friday, 22 Sep 2023 at 10:30am

Thanks for this article Stu. Great interview.

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garyg1412 Friday, 22 Sep 2023 at 10:31am

You want some Salmon marketing. Here you go. It should be marketed as a combo - Salmon & Sea Lice. Bon Appétit

kent county humane society





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Lanky Dean Friday, 22 Sep 2023 at 12:14pm

Here I was thinking the hippies didn't want the nets.....
I they need them to control there wealth and environments.
Shall I get off the soap box now..
Grey salmon ( Atlantic) still tastes good.
Don't do the farmed stuff.
It's kinda weird how they have this giant ocean yet do it in the bays and backwaters?

Control , yep there's that word again........

views from the cockpit's picture
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views from the ... Friday, 22 Sep 2023 at 2:07pm

Great article and of so much greater importance than glib referendums that take peoples attention away from matters that will seriously affect ALL human beings and more importantly all other living things.
Big business and politicians; the usual greedy fools/scum.
Watch "Eating our way to extinction" for further enlightenment.
Not that I care about human extinction- bring it on sooner I say. The Covid pandemic was a great opportunity wasted.

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57 Saturday, 23 Sep 2023 at 1:47am

got to make a commercial and show those salmon swimming threw poo and then parents going out to dinner feeding that very same salmon, and with a glee full face they say, we are getting all the omega 3 we can possibly get !

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haggis Saturday, 23 Sep 2023 at 10:45am

My brother in law works in the Tassie Salmon industry and employs 30 people, most whom have families. I can understand the angst about salmon farming but Tassie depends on it. In fact the salmon industry employs 5,103 full time jobs mostly down the Huon where there has been large scale unemployment after forestry wrapped up.

The industry is worth 770 million dollars to Tasmania’s economy and has a value of 1.36 billion.

I’m not condoning all the salmon industry methods, but as a small island we do rely on the richer states to make money from their primary industry for gst distribution that is significant to us surviving as a State.

Rather than shout me down ( I realise I’m on the wrong platform to advocate for the Tasmanian salmon industry) I was wondering what we could do to replace the monetary benefits of the salmon industry.

Move it on land etc. I look forward to your comments. Respect all views on this and obviously Mick Lawrence who is Tasmanian surfing royalty. Remember surfing with his son occasionally. He ripped it up.

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Lanky Dean Saturday, 23 Sep 2023 at 12:44pm

I see your points haggis, something had to fill logging.
Don't really think this article is directed at the worker though.

Feel more the overall big business, lack of fair and or safe / sanitary practices. Environmental concerns.....

Primary industries are a tough one cause they support the overall economy. Shut down the primary industry, you end up crippling the town .

Surely there is a compromise right ?

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lomah Saturday, 23 Sep 2023 at 1:44pm

It’s great people are raising awareness of the issues and driving change. Bravo. As per Haggis comment think it’s imperative that possible solutions to employment, economic impacts etc are part of the discussion. The small towns and settlements down around the SE where the pens and support boats are located are obviously not doing brilliantly on any sort of economic or opportunity scale. Tassie in general has woeful results on things like education attainment. I agree logging in state forests and salmon farming practices have to change but all of us advocating for that need to really bring some solutions to the table re economic impacts or there will be nothing but resentment and fear from those affected.

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Mick Lawrence Saturday, 23 Sep 2023 at 3:58pm

Hi Haggis,

Agree employment is a problem in Tassie. We are not against the salmon industry in principle, just its practice. Historically, resource industries have an appalling environmental history in this state and their use of the ‘employment’ card to justify continuing that abuse is a sleight of hand slimier than their fish.

You’re right in saying it’s a major industry - it’s the major primary industry in the state - yet it ranks only 40th in terms of employment. And while Salmon Tasmania claims it employs 5000+ Tasmanians, independent figures state it’s only around 1500.

Who's right? One of our three producers - Petuna - employ less than 150. Scotland - which produces ten times our output - employs less than 15,000. Either the industry has overstated their numbers, or by industry standards they are grossly inefficient managers.

The trend overseas is that employment to output ratios are in steady decline. Why? The industry is increasingly turning to robots.

As to land based production. The founder of Patagonia -Yvonne Chouinard,- is currently developing a land based system for the future. Pollution levels are minimal, fish waste is turned into compost, production costs have not escalated and the ocean is better off. So there is a viable alternative.

But there is no alternative for Tasmania if we allow three industrial giants to continue being future eaters. Very few will have jobs in the future if we continue this unabated environmental destruction on the premise it will cost jobs now.

The mining industry used that argument in the 1800’s to justify turning Macquarie Harbour into a tailing dam. Gunns used that argument to justify converting furniture grade trees into dunny rolls. Both those industries are mere shadows of their former selves, yet the sky didn’t fall in. In fact business can’t find people to hire in the state at the moment. Unlike corporations the workers adapt.

The industry in the northern hemisphere is in a state of rapid transition to shore based production. This week Iceland placed a freeze on new permits for farms in open waters and are undertaking a review of the entire industry. Since 2014 their production went from 8000 tons to over 51,000 tons. Their once vibrant fjords now wastelands. That's a cost that's unacceptable to anyone who understands a healthy ocean is fundamental to our very existence.

The massive expansion of this industry has nothing to do with feeding the starving or providing huge employment opportunities. It’s got everything to do with wholesale greed by three companies who, when compared to the few they employ, are disgustingly rich already. Their greed knows no bounds.

There are alternatives, we just need to force our politicians to pursue them. For the sake of future generations, not just ours.

Finally, thanks for your comments on our son. Tim certainly was a ripper kid - and he certainly ripped.

haggis's picture
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haggis Saturday, 23 Sep 2023 at 4:42pm

Thanks Mick,

I’m really pleased you took the time to write this. Message. I’ve screen shot it and sent it to a few mates. I feel like I have a much better idea about the industry. On another note what sea kayak do you use for your travels. Think I’ll get into it myself when I no longer surf.

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Mick Lawrence Saturday, 23 Sep 2023 at 4:46pm

Cheers Haggis, appreciate your attitude. Tasmanians are the pawns in this game, it's not their fault and one hopes that common sense will prevail. Re Kayaks - I did 15K in a Wilderness Tsunami 165. Can't fault them. But msg me on FB if you need more info.

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tubeshooter Saturday, 23 Sep 2023 at 7:32pm

I'm pretty sceptical about full land-based salmon farming taking off here.

Seems to be the case in Norway too.
“We have asked what the industry thinks of the large number of planned investments in land-based production. Sixty-eight per cent of our respondents believe that land-based salmon farming is ‘a bucket of empty promises’,” according to the PwC Seafood Barometer 2023 report.

And from Huon
"It is Huons view that the experience and reliability of completely growing salmon entirely on land (in commercial volumes) is not yet proven nor is there the likelihood of 100% land-based salmon farming in Tasmania for a range of reasons....."

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Mick Lawrence Sunday, 24 Sep 2023 at 6:06am

Scepticism isn't necessarily a bad condition to suffer. It's healthy to question. To listen to an alternate point of view. Understanding the rationale of arguments from either side of the fence is how mature discussion works.

Few have all the answers. However it's essential to query one essential ingredient in all of this: intent.

Personally my 'antenna of scepticism' always starts rotating when the likes of a PwC barometer start rising. Particularly when the PwC's of the world's sole intent - is to protect their interests. The salmon industry is a major client of PwC - so it would be reasonable to assume they're unlikely to work against their interests in this discussion. Follow the money!

Be they industrial fish farmers or global consultants, their intent is clear: make as much money as the can. Whereas the intent of those on my side of the fence is to protect that which is essential to the both humanity and the planet.

Sit on the fence by all means. Just be careful you don't end up with splinters hanging out of your arse.

tubeshooter's picture
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tubeshooter Sunday, 24 Sep 2023 at 5:25pm

Yeh totally agree about intent.
And that JBS corporation that acquired Huon is the stuff of nightmares, not that Huon didn't have its own environmental/legal issues.

Kudos to you Mick , and others, for keeping this issue going, otherwise it is very much 'out of sight, out of mind' for most people. Cheers.

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rich74 Sunday, 24 Sep 2023 at 9:13am

4 billion revenue vs 64 million tax isnt 15%..great article though

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Mick Lawrence Sunday, 24 Sep 2023 at 1:58pm

My initial excuse is I used to score a regular F - in maths , but - Tassie turnover is slightly south of $1.4B not $4B .

While on maths - the industry pay less than $1m pa for the use of our river water for their hatcheries and waterways for their grow out.

Additionally the taxpayers just forked out $240m for new filters at our town water intake up the Derwent River. Independent science suggests the blooms most probably originated from water discharged from hatcheries.

Hardly the machinations of a good corporate citizen I would suggest.

GM's picture
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GM Monday, 25 Sep 2023 at 4:46pm

Don't apologise Mick.
Article says $4 bill turnover over the period from 2013 to 2018.
Taxes are paid on taxable income, which is turnover less expenses.
So $64 mill in tax on a $4 bill turnover over that period of time is totally feasible.
For large corporates their tax rate is 30% of taxable income.
So if they paid $64 mill in tax then they made about $213 mill in taxable income, or about 5.33% of the $4 bill turnover.
This is way too low for a business more profitable than heroine dealing!!!
So if I was the tax man I'd be investigating the Oz salmon farming subsidiaries of multinational parent companies for possible use of Transfer Pricing to avoid paying tax in Oz.

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Shaun Hanson Sunday, 24 Sep 2023 at 10:06am

The QLD government is in the process of slowly strangeling to death sustainably managed wild caught seafood fisheries and promoting farmed ..Tassel now owns the majority of prawn farms on the east coast ..The prawns are promoted as aussie tiger prawn threw coles with no requirement to label as farmed ..The average punter assumes these are wild caught healthy prawn ..Instead they are buying antibiotic filled and artificially coloured pond grown crap with terrible water quality run off and the risk of disease transferring into the wild prawn (e.g white spot ) At least make it a requirement to label as farmed and dont assume farming is a better way then sustainably caught wild seafood its not ..and by the way the aussie tiger prawn they promote is actually a leader prawn ...Come on Curtis show some morals mate

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velocityjohnno Sunday, 24 Sep 2023 at 2:39pm

Seems a similar situation to when the forestry was most contentious in the 2000s. The scenes I saw...

"Is there any reason why Tasmania should not be more beautiful on the day we leave it, than on the day we came?… If we can revise our attitudes towards the land under our feet; if we can accept a role of steward and depart from the role of the conqueror, if we can accept that man and nature are inseparable parts of the unified whole, then Tasmania can be a shining beacon in a dull, uniform and largely artificial world."

Olegas Truchanas

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Mick Lawrence Sunday, 24 Sep 2023 at 4:51pm

Very true velocityjohnno.

Unfortunately that concept is dependent upon leaders with vision - not followers of greed.

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Jelly Flater Monday, 25 Sep 2023 at 7:50am


some_guy's picture
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some_guy Tuesday, 26 Sep 2023 at 5:55pm

That is a good watch - got me second guessing my salmon purchases now goddammit

GM's picture
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GM Monday, 25 Sep 2023 at 10:53am

I saw a docco on salmon farming a long time back, not sure if it was "Farmed Salmon Exposed" by Damien Gillis, but there was a Norwegian activist in it who I think was Kurt Oddekalv who was using a sub to film the underwater devastation caused by the farms in Norway's fjords. The only reason I think it was Oddekalv is that he is apparently the global salmon fishing industry's biggest foe, so it makes sense to be him. One of the quotes from the salmon farm execs that still sticks in my mind was that salmon farming is more profitable than heroine dealing. So if governments can't/won't take down illicit drug empires, what chance of getting them to take down a "legit" industry that's more profitable? Probably be worthwhile getting in touch with Oddekalv as he'd have a pretty useful database of dirt to use in a fight to either stop or clean up the local industry.

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Stephen Allen Monday, 25 Sep 2023 at 12:25pm

Another case of Earth at our disposal to do with as we see fit.

If existence standing before the will is given to the will in perception and reason, then the essence of existence originates with the will and not existence itself.

Herein lies the origin of Earth as value at the disposal of the will to power of the Overman.

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Chipper's picture
Chipper Monday, 25 Sep 2023 at 2:15pm

The world needs food, especially protein to feed the population... humans must farm to survive unless you live in lala land... however farming needs be done ethically and sustainably and at a profit. At least the fish don't release methane and impact global warming. No?

Mick Lawrence's picture
Mick Lawrence's picture
Mick Lawrence Tuesday, 26 Sep 2023 at 5:59am

Your'e correct about methane Chipper, but consider this: their production involves flotillas of vessels consuming diesel; the pens are plastic; farm marine debris is substantial with tonnes of micro plastic now entering the food chain; being perishable, the end product is delivered to market by air; and it takes around 1.5 kg of protein - including krill and wild fish - to grow 1kg. That's not sustainable.

Which ever way you look at it this is a toxic industry - and don't be mislead by the claim they're feeding the masses as they would have you believe. At $60 kg it's hardly likely the world's starving are surviving on salmon sushi either.

pointy's picture
pointy's picture
pointy Monday, 25 Sep 2023 at 4:06pm

I've been to Tassie twice this year and it is certainly a hot topic down there.

What amazed me though was that in a supermarket in Cygnet, just a few Ks from the Huon River and not far from a Tassal plant, there was zero fish of any type for sale.

Is all of the salmon shipped to the mainland or OS? And what about other fish?

I would have thought that there is a market for more traditionally caught salmon (i.e. fish caught in their natural habitat from a fishing boat) - but maybe they'd be too expensive.

It's certainly a beautiful part of the world and worth looking after

matts's picture
matts's picture
matts Tuesday, 26 Sep 2023 at 9:30am

Grew up down the channel in the 80/90's. Water was over the bottom paddock fence, early fish farms on the other side in Barnes bay. Haven't been back for 20 + years but coming down for a visit and a look around in November. I think I am going to be very upset at what I see, I'm upset about what mates have told me. I always tell anybody up here on the north island that will listen, not to touch the salmon for all the reason's outlined here.

Blingas's picture
Blingas's picture
Blingas Wednesday, 27 Sep 2023 at 2:24am

Serious question where do you buy locally caught fish in Australia. There is a fair fish brand in SA. But other than catching for myself it is almost impossible to have any idea how where and when dish has been caught

Bob Hawke Surf Team's picture
Bob Hawke Surf Team's picture
Bob Hawke Surf Team Wednesday, 27 Sep 2023 at 5:01pm

Great read. Highly disturbing. I just wish we could direct focus occasionally on the real problem in the world - growth. Both the economy and population. There’s just too many people that need to be fed/clothed/housed/employed today and consequently we are reliant on these conflicting mass production methods. We have fucked this planet in the arse and no amount of ‘best practices’ or ‘sustainability’ is going to turn it around. Humans are parasites and the earth is the host. No I don’t have an answer. Sorry but there ya go.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Tuesday, 7 Nov 2023 at 10:29am

"Salmon farming in Macquarie Harbour may be paused for skates sake, Plibersek warns"

basesix's picture
basesix's picture
basesix Tuesday, 30 Jan 2024 at 8:34am

@Mick Lawrence, massively interesting topic, love to learn about current machinations from those who know..

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Tuesday, 25 Jun 2024 at 6:29am