Oct 24, 2017

Salmon giant Tassal needs to admit it’s losing the war on climate change

Tasmanian salmon farming giant Tassal has been beleaguered by falling domestic prices and environmental negligence. What can the giant do to mend its ways?

Stephen Mayne — Journalist and Founder

Stephen Mayne

Journalist and Founder

All fish stink. Some stink more than others. When it comes to salmon company Tassal, there is a growing band of critics who think the odour is getting worse.

Like its big Tasmanian predecessor Gunns, Tassal is an unusual company because it has an open share register but has been led by the same chairman and CEO for more than a decade. Chairman Allan McCallum lives in Victoria but has been a Tassal director since 2003 and chairman since 2005. Managing director Mark Ryan was a PwC restructuring expert who decided to make his career building Tassal, that is now capitalised at $710 million. He’s been CEO since 2003 and a director since 2005.

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13 thoughts on “Salmon giant Tassal needs to admit it’s losing the war on climate change

  1. JQ

    Huon has also announced an onshore salmon nursery a Port Huon which would see smolt grown on land to 500-600g before being transferred to sea pens. Apparently its aim is to reduce the time salmon spend at sea to within 12 months. Better for the environment, better for risk reduction.

  2. Desmond Graham

    Norway has Salmon farming in its pristine Fjords. But like all its fishing activities it is sustainable .
    For instance the cod industry has been one of the mainstay of the economy since the middle ages [yes hundreds of years] and it continues to thrive – in contrast to Canada & USA where there used to be a cod industry, by completely clearing out the cod in relatively short time there is fishing industry.

    The reason why there is viable salmon farming is the the Norwegians understand the problems and manage to avoid them . Just good management. The Salmon farms have a time limit on the location then must move and not return for a specified period. Thus the Fjords are kept pristine. This is simple agricultural principle of crop rotation and letting the soil lie fallowto recover. Unfortunately Tasmania – or Australian corporate culture does not appear to understand natures spreadsheet only an accounting spreadsheet. So Tasmania as usual will soil its environment then whinge they haven’t any industry.

    1. Desmond Graham

      oops ! end of first para should be – there is no cod fishing industry.

      1. zut alors

        Aldi sells the Norwegian smoked salmon it’s not only more environmentally ethical but it tastes better. Bonus!

        Since the Four Corners’ expose this household has banned all Tassal product & takes every opportunity to badmouth them. The ABC should air the programme again.

        1. Marjorie Carless

          I agree. I personally feel that Tassal salmon is grown in waters that are now so polluted, the fish are so full of antibiotics and God knows what other chemicals that I have banned it also. This is a company that is so greedy that they have forgotten quality of their product.

    2. Woopwoop

      What colour are these Norwegian salmon?

  3. old greybearded one

    Tassal are a bunch of vandals as far as I can see. Salmone farming is an absurd industry in most regards, especiallyas they do it. MacQuarie Harbour is an example of the attitude of business to the environment.

  4. brewer

    Tassal’s woes are without a doubt much of its own making but of course not entirely – life is never that simple. Tassal’s recent proposal discharge treated waste water near the mouth of Macquarie Harbour was particularly naive from a PR point of view. Just a few questions Stephen Mayne might add to his AGM list. Was 4 Corner’s concern re “the environmental management of Macquarie Harbour” as much about negligence on the part of the EPA as it was about farmers pushing the limits (without proper supervision)? Who are the other players in the Okehampton Bay controversy and what is the overall context for this? Does the Okehampton Bay development have any support, if so from whom? How is Huon Aquaculture’s court action going? Who referred Tassal to the Senate Privileges Committee? Is astaxanthin (the most common carotenoid in the wild salmon’s diet) used in Norway or other countries, and if so why? What is the difference between a “synthetic” substance and the same naturally occurring substance? Is it true that Tassals’s “‘2017 class’ of salmon has been vaccinated and it doesn’t expect to use any antibiotics” in line with Petuna’s practice? Is Huon vaccinating its fish, if not, why not? What is the difference between selective breeding and genetic engineering? What is Petuna “doing to combat climate change impacts on the environment”? Sorry for the ignorance, just curious about the answers.

  5. klewso

    State facilitated environmental vandals – something Tasmania seems to “excel” at if left unattended.

  6. AR

    I wonder what sort of damage will persist in Taz from the current Hodgeman government when (if?) it is finally dislodged?
    From retro forest wars to social bastardry, the Merkin Isle continues to be carbuncle on the bum of Oz.

    1. Marjorie Carless

      A microcosm of the whole of Australia!

  7. mikeb

    Tassal are the Gunns of the 2010’s. Huon and Petuna will benefit from this eventually because the Tassal business model will collapse, just as Gunn’s did.
    Re the red “dye”. I think all farmed salmon have this as the red colour in wild salmon comes from the native food that they eat. Be honest – who would enjoy grey salmon as much as red salmon?

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