Protected fur seals left caged in fish pens – report
The Tasmanian Alliance for Marine Protection (TAMP) has received updated information on reports of protected Tasmanian fur seals trapped in a floating salmon cage for at least a week. Further reports from water users report the seals were trapped in a Tassal salmon cage in the third pen from the south end of the Simmonds lease at the northern end of the D'Entrecasteaux Channel for up to 8 days.
TAMP affiliates call for complete transparency from regulators, from Tassal and from its multinational owner, Cooke Aquaculture which has a record of mistreatment of wildlife in other countries where it operates.
In Scotland, Cooke was fined £2,000 for failing to report the shooting deaths of seals, carcasses of which were stumbled upon by tourists.
Tasmania's trespass laws make it difficult for TAMP to undertake independent verification of the number of seals trapped and the duration. Approaching the salmon cages can lead to legal action.
Tassal was taken over last year by Cooke Aquaculture, whose failure to maintain its infrastructure in Washington State, USA, led to a ban on all open-cage salmon production in recent months.
TAMP calls for an investigation into the causes for the seals being trapped, whether the seals have been able to feed during their captivity and why these protected mammals were caged for so long.
Note to Editors: TAMP has not been able to independently verify the number of seals trapped as approaching the salmon cages is considered trespassing. Media inquiries are urged to relevant authorities.
More information from Peter George, President, TAMP, 0426 150 369
UPDATE at 1330hrs Feb 14, 2023