Salmon industry "overstates economic impact" says TISC

The Tasmanian Independent Science Council has reviewed economic claims made by Salmon Tasmania and finds that the claims are misleading and overstate the economic and social contribution of the industry.

Salmon Tasmania's recent report, The Tasmanian Salmon industry: a vital social and economic contributor, uses misleading methods and comparisons to present the industry as a significant part of the Tasmanian economy.

Key points:

  • Based on ABS data, the salmon industry accounts for around 6-7% of gross value added (GVA) for the Tasmanian agriculture, forestry and fishing industry, not 20% as Salmon Tasmania claims.
  • Salmon Tasmania's report claims that industry jobs pay 56% more than the average Tasmanian job. If both direct and indirect jobs are considered, the salmon industry pays almost the same as the average Tasmanian job.
  • Salmon Tasmania's report does not include a full cost benefit analysis of the industry, meaning that any social and environmental costs such as environmental impacts, subsidies paid by governments, or loss of public amenities are not accounted for.

"The salmon industry has previously made the grossly exaggerated claim that it employed 12,000 Tasmanians, at a time when it could be readily established that the producers themselves employed around 2,000 Tasmanians. It is a pity that the latest report from Salmon Tasmania has not been more careful in the claims it makes," says economist Dr Graeme Wells, associate member of the TISC.

"Now that all three salmon producers are under foreign ownership, industry finances and economic contributions have become even more opaque. Salmon Tasmania has missed an opportunity to provide the Tasmanian public with a transparent, holistic analysis that accounts for all social, economic and environmental costs and benefits of the industry," said Dr Wells.

"We can all agree that the industry is an important employer, especially in regional areas. But trust in industry reporting requires accuracy, not exaggeration," said Dr Wells.

Media release – Tasmanian Independent Science Council, 15 August 2023