Salmon farmer Tassal Group Limited has run into issues regarding complaints that its methods are having a detrimental effect on the environment. Complaints from abalone farmers, as well as a mussel farmer’s report of contamination from Tassal site runoff, were immediately rebutted by Tassal chief executive Mark Ryan.
“Everyone at Tassal believes that we are custodians of the environment that we operate in, and we take this role extremely seriously,” said Ryan. He also stated that the media are misrepresenting the information, which he also claims is outdated.
The company’s stock prices suggest the concerns are affecting business, though. For 14 months, shares have been extremely low, currently settled at $3.35. They’ve lagged about 25% over the last year.
Tassal employs 950 people and, according to Ryan, takes great pride in its partnership with the World Wildlife Federation. They are the only aquaculture company in Australia to have such an association.
With regard to the mussel farmer’s complaint, Ryan said the Tassal site in question responded quickly to concerns and is no longer in use as a main grow site. It does, however, still function as a temporary site to hold fish, but it is currently empty.
According to Shop Ethical, Tassal does have a fairly positive rating in terms of its historical environmental standards. However, as with many salmon farms, there are potential issues with antibiotic use, damage to the marine environment, and the problematic relationship between farmed salmon and wild-caught salmon.
Tassel’s current environmental issues may lead to a Senate inquiry into the broader Tasmanian aquaculture industry. In the past, however, Tasmania’s marine leases have been a state responsibility, so it’s unclear with what authority the Senate would intervene.
“This is not because of jurisdictional issues,” Ryan said. “It is because the Tasmanian aquaculture industry is already very well regulated.”