September 19, 2023


Potential government action threatens to scale down salmon industry in Tasmania, Australia




The salmon farming trade of Tasmania, Australia, is under threat following a debate in Australia's federal parliament over the $1.3 billion industry.


The state's largest aquaculture export is at the centre of Australia's seafood market, with salmon lovers across the country relying on Tasmania as their primary source for the fish. 


However, the Threatened Species Scientific Committee recently warned endangered species, like the Maugean Skate, will go extinct unless salmon farm impacts are reduced in the Macquarie Harbour.


In the wake of the advice, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek announced $2.1 million captive breeding programme amid pressure for her to reconsider 2012's federal approval for salmon farming in the harbour.


There are now growing fears thousands of workers could lose their job if the government decides to wind back the industry, with nine out of 10 jobs based in regional areas.


Shadow environment minister Jonathan Duniam - who is from Tasmania - said he's "very concerned" Plibersek is only focusing on the environment rather than the economy and people's jobs.


"We should protect our fragile environment... but at the same time, as our economy starts to slow, as the cost of living becomes harder, and people's jobs become more uncertain... she has to take into account the economic fallout of any decision she makes for environmental considerations," he told "With Macquarie Harbour, I’m very concerned about where the government is heading in relation to that.


"If that industry shuts down that rips the heart out of that economy, and it will never come back.


Duniam has called on Plibersek to "back in the science" and work with the industry to support the thousands of jobs in Tasmania.


Salmon Tasmania chief executive officer Luke Martin welcomed the $2.1 billion captive breeding programme from the federal government but reiterated more work needs to be done to protect both the industry and environment.


The salmon industry equates to about one in five jobs on the west coast of Tasmania, and in the town of Strahan where just 700 people live, 120 of them work in the aquaculture sector.


Plibersek responded to these concerns through a statement, placing responsibility on the Tasmanian government. 


"The Tasmanian Government has primary responsibility for managing aquaculture and river flows," a spokesperson for Plibersek told "We will work sensibly with the Tasmanian Government and the salmon industry to get a good outcome."


- Sky News

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