Huon Aquaculture's announcement of RAS developments at Port Huon is pure greenwashing


The expansion of Huon Aquaculture's salmon hatcheries at Whale Point (The Mercury 27 June 2024) means more tonnage of fish in our waterways. While laudible in itself, it is a long overdue and marginal improvement in the industry's operations as a whole.

At present only around half of Tasmania's fresh water hatcheries are fully self-contained RAS systems, the rest continue to pollute our rivers and streams, many upstream from sources of domestic fresh water supplies. In 2019 a scientific report showed high levels of pollution in the headwaters of the Derwent and Florentine rivers, downstream from two salmon hatcheries. In 2021 a leading scientist demolished industry claims about their polluting our freshwater rivers. Yet the industry continues to issue greenwashing claims about their use of RAS. None of their facilities are 100% RAS, all fish spend the last part of their lives in open net pens in shallow waterways.

The Port Huon development is therefore at best a marginal improvement, but there is no quantified plan, with target dates, to convert all freshwater hatcheries, and as this appears to be the only upgraded site since 2019, progress is glacial. How long will it take to convert the rest?

The industry's expansion inevitably means more pollution, especially for the Huon River. Huon Aquaculture's announcement is pure greenwashing when it claims that a larger land-based hatchery means less impact on the marine environment. Expanded production in a hatchery means more fish in the shallow water pens, more faeces, more antibiotics, plastic pollution and the continued and sustained harm to our native marine and bird life. It means continued noise and light pollution in residentially-zoned areas.

"NOFF challenges the industry's expansion. Investment of this size should create complete egg-to-harvest lifecycle of the fish to be farmed on land in fully- enclosed recirculating aquaculture systems. NOFF will continue campaigning toward the mainland consumer market that eating salmon is killing Tasmania. The billboards, which are being rolled out in cities across the country, speak plainly and cut through the greenwashing attempts made by industry, the government and flawed certification schemes and supermarkets" said Jess Coughlan, NOFF Campaigner.

  • Comments attributed to Peter George 0426 150 369, Jess Coughlan 0431684741