Salmon industry needs to answer more fully: TAMP’s inquiries raise industry ire
Legitimate questions about the fate of protected fur seals spotted in a Tassal salmon pen in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel provoked industry ire today (see below). "The industry's defensiveness is not unexpected' says Peter George, president of the Tasmanian Alliance for Marine Protection (TAMP). "Considering its track record of causing seal deaths and the use of thousands of lead-weighted beanbag projectiles and underwater explosives against protected fur seals, the industry's sensitivity is hardly surprising."
"Nor is it any wonder that when water users see seals apparently trapped inside salmon pens they report their concerns to a responsible organisation like TAMP – and TAMP raises those concerns for investigation. "As the industry's intemperate response today illustrates, this is not an industry that likes to be questioned.
"The industry's explanation leaves further questions unanswered:
"Is it industry practice to allow seals to become habituated to "hauling out" and resting on salmon cages when they're empty only then to use explosives and projectiles against them when the cages are stocked?"
"We don't resile from raising legitimate concerns about an industry that is notorious for its lack of transparency.
For more information:
Peter George, President, TAMP 0426 150 369
Press Release from Salmon Tasmania
It is understood that some activist groups are circulating misleading and unsubstantiated information about seals "trapped" in aquaculture pens. The pens in question are not stocked and have no nets below the waterline. The seals are simply using them as a place to rest (haul out), similar to how a seal will rest on a swimming pontoon or navigational buoy.
These fictitious allegations demonstrate a lack of understanding by activists of the industry and the State Government's seal management framework, of which we operate within.
Above the waterline there is wildlife exclusion netting, this remains for staff safety and presents no risk to the seals. The absence of a below water net means the seals are free to come and go as they like. There is a clear lack of understanding of our farming practices and our operational methods by those making these allegations.
Like any farming operations, the salmon industry manages its interactions with local wildlife around our pens. Ensuring the safety of wildlife, our people and the fish we grow are all of the highest priority. Our teams spend a lot of time checking equipment and pens, stocked or unstocked, making sure everything is maintained to a high standard.
We are disappointed that these misleading claims have been presented as fact to the media.
Quotes to be attributes to Sue Grau, CEO, Salmon Tasmania.