Salmon farming is a thriving industry in Tasmania, with three major companies cultivating Atlantic salmon in its pristine waters. At Hook’d Up Bar and Grill, we prioritize sustainable practices and are committed to providing our customers with the highest quality seafood. In this article, we will explore the environmental impact of salmon farming in Tasmania and shed light on the efforts taken by Hook’d Up Bar and Grill to ensure responsible aquaculture.
The Environmental Landscape
Salmon farming in Tasmania predominantly takes place in sea cages that are open to the ocean. While this method allows for optimal growth conditions, it also raises concerns about waste management. Huon, one of the leading salmon farming companies, operates in Storm Bay, the Huon estuary, the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, and Macquarie Harbour. In recent years, environmental challenges have been observed in Macquarie Harbour, including a decline in oxygen levels and pollution of the seafloor, which extends into the World Heritage area.
Environmental Management and Conservation
To address the ecological impact, several management actions have been implemented. The amount of salmon farming allowed in Macquarie Harbour has been significantly reduced since the mid-late 2010s, when the farming companies exceeded the sustainable limits. Despite these efforts, pollution and deoxygenation events continue to be a concern. In response, a new production limit will be introduced in 2023 to further mitigate the nutrient pollution and safeguard the affected ecosystem.
It is critical to highlight that the salmon farming industry is not solely responsible for the challenges in Macquarie Harbour. Climate change, historical mining, and hydro power generation also contribute to its vulnerability. However, it is our collective responsibility to ensure a balance between economic growth and environmental conservation.
Conserving Endangered Species
The Maugean skate, a rare marine species unique to Tasmania and categorized as ‘Endangered’ under Australia’s national environment law, faces a serious threat from salmon farming in Macquarie Harbour. The population of this skate has seen a decline, and urgent conservation efforts are crucial to prevent its extinction. Hook’d Up Bar and Grill acknowledges the importance of preserving biodiversity and supports initiatives aimed at restoring the health of Macquarie Harbour.
Responsible Expansion and Biosecurity
While Huon plans to expand its salmon farming into Storm Bay, Hook’d Up Bar and Grill acknowledges the need for rigorous environmental protection measures. Concerns have been raised about the management of this expansion and the lack of implementation of environmental and biosecurity safeguards. It is essential for the Tasmanian government to work closely with environmental experts and ensure the careful monitoring and management of fish farm pollution impacts.
Sustainable Practices and Innovation
At Hook’d Up Bar and Grill, we believe in the power of innovation to drive positive change. Huon is rapidly implementing a new system that increases the portion of the salmon farming production cycle that occurs on land. This onshore ‘nursery’ facility allows for wastewater recirculation and treatment before discharge, significantly reducing environmental impacts and improving the overall sustainability of the operation.
Responsible Sourcing and Feed Innovation
Salmon feed traditionally relies on fish protein sourced from the wild, raising concerns about overfishing. Huon, however, has made significant progress in reducing its dependence on wild fish ingredients and improving the sustainability of its feed sourcing policies. This innovative approach not only ensures the health and welfare of farmed fish but also contributes to the overall sustainability of the industry.
Salmon farming in Tasmania presents both opportunities and challenges for environmental conservation. Hook’d Up Bar and Grill is committed to promoting sustainable practices and supporting initiatives that safeguard the delicate marine ecosystem. We remain dedicated to providing our customers with responsibly farmed salmon and ensuring a brighter, more sustainable future for Tasmania’s aquaculture industry.