Tassal... I am each way. What do you think of salmon farming practices?

I believe in the future of seafood… to the point where I have invested in two companies that have collapsed!

Despite this, I still believe that seafood is important for the future of our nutrition

Tonight I am watching an ABC program that is BLOWING APART the management of fish farming in Tasmania.

Small talk… but a while ago I bought $30 worth of fresh salmon from the Tassal shop in Hobart. The store attendant was very helpful and when I told her we were flying to Adelaide and then Hong Kong, she helpfully sold us an icepack.

Twenty minutes later at the airport we were told that we could not take fresh fish out of Tasmania!

I emailed Tassal in order to express my disappointment and got no reply.

I have been around business for a while and I smell a rotten business attitude!


Thanks for starting this topic @richardwarland.

We’re keen to hear from others in the Community on this issue. Did you know that your supermarket salmon might be artificially coloured? If so, should it be labelled as in the USA? You can find the Four Corners’ investigation here: http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2016/10/31/4564542.htm


I’ve just watched the 4Corners program on iview (TV reception - yay for digital!- made it unwatchable last night). I’d previously heard about the environmental damage being done by fish farming, and was surprised that the massive use of antibiotics was not even mentioned as part of the environmental damage being done. Keeping the fish packed in so closely means they have to be medicated to keep them alive, as any infection could spread very rapidly.

Because of the my concerns about the environmental damage due to fish farming, and also over-fishing and depletion of wild fish stocks, I stopped buying all fresh fish in 2013, and started growing my own in an aquaponics system. The rainbow trout taste better than what is in the supermarkets (trout or salmon), and I know they are grown much more sustainably right here in front of my house. No water is polluted, the fish waste is used to grow vegetables, and sometimes used on my fruit trees as a bit of extra fertilser in addition to the chook poo.
I hadn’t seen the salmon colour chart before, and was amazed at how orange the flesh was! The fish food I currently use has small quantities of the pigments (they are also anti-oxidants) canthaxanthin ( E161g) and astaxanthin added for colour in the pellets fed as the fish near harvest size, plus I feed my fish slaters (I breed them for fish food) and other insects, which also contain those pigments naturally, but my fish are very pale in comparison to what the supermarket sells. Some chook food, as used in battery hen operations probably contains one of both of these pigments too.


Having watched the ABC program last night I was flabbergasted by the attitude of Tassal towards other industry players. They were going to such great lengths to stifle free speech and gag any negative publicity! Well the “cat” is really out of the bag now! There must surely be enough evidence to support an inquiry into what this industry might be doing to natural waterways in Tasmania and whether it should be limited to certain areas, instead of being given such free reign. I would also expect that the labelling of products as “all natural” should be scrutinised more closely. I certainly wasn’t aware that artificial additives were being fed to the fish in order to produce a desired colour or, as Gordon points out, that large amounts of antibiotics are being dispersed into the surrounding water. Perhaps this is what has been killing off the mussels in leases nearby. It would appear that the “environmentally friendly” tag should be interpreted with great caution.


I used to respect WWF, but after watching their spokesman on 4 Corners, it seems that you don’t need to be environmentally friendly to use their logo, you just need to hand over a lot of money!

Edit: I’ve just unsubscribed from their mailing list, giving the 4 Corners expose as the reason. I certainly wont be making any donations to them in future.


According to the Australian Interstate Quarantine travellers guide (available to download at http://www.planthealthaustralia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Australian-Interstate-Quarantine-A-Travellers-Guide.pdf) you can take fresh or canned fish from Tasmania into South Australia. However, you cannot take some species of live or fresh fish into Tasmania.
It also appears that fresh fish can be taken into Hong Kong, although meat and poultry is not permitted.
It therefore appears the people at the Hobart airport were incorrect.


Yes, that too was not only surprising but disturbing, considering that WWF appeared to pick and choose who they allowed to use their logo with little regard to the farming techniques that are in practice. And there was no transparency about those massive donations, it was almost “hush, hush”!


Thank you!

It looks like the people at Hobart Airport had a good dinner at my expense…

This notwithstanding, Tassal should have replied to my complaint… particularly as they were innocent on this occasion!


First let me declare that I have no interest in Salmon farming but I do like to eat and we regularly buy Tasmanian salmon, so naturally I was very interested in watching after seeing the promos on ABC.
At the end of the show I felt it was a ‘beat up’ story, of somewhat dubious merit well below the normal 4 Corners standard, some of the interviewees had a obvious self interest driving their opinions.
I was disappointed in the story’s balance and I felt it was a bit like watching some of the past dubious ‘Catalyst’ episodes of recent years.

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I think all food should be properly labelled. I am such an innocent that I thought salmon were naturally pink. Just over 20 years ago, I developed an allergy to white ocean or estuarine fish. I have eaten salmon since, with no ill effects. I will continue to eat it,BUT??

Some wild salmon is naturally pink, due to the astaxanthin and canthaxanthin in crustaceans, which they normally consume.
BTW, canthaxanthin is used in some tanning pills and can give your skin an orange colour- which brings to mind a certain US presidential candidate!

When fish are in captivity and fed pellets, these pigments have to be added, otherwise the flesh would be pale white-grey in colour. Manufacturing the pigments is no doubt less expensive, and less environmentally damaging, than catching prawns and squeezing out their colourful juices :wink:
However, the colour of the fish in the supermarket, and as seen on 4 Corners, appears to be completely OTT- they must be adding an awful lot of the pigment to the pellets to obtaiin the bright orange flesh colouration.


I watched 4 corners and of course someone seems to be telling lies. Our foods have always been
dyed, genetically modified, sprayed with unhealthy contaminants and chemically enhanced
and our government (like others) don’t really give a stuff.

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Having visited Tassie many times and seen the Salmon fisheries, including the jeopardised ones at Macquarie Harbour, I watched the programme with interest.

Unfortunately I don’t think that anyone came out of it well, including the Four Corners journalist who rather than focus on one genuine verifiable event (fish deaths and over stocking at Macquarie Harbour) seemed repeatly to try and create other sensationalist events, like the abandoned plan to use the Sound.

That a company tried to mobilise people supportive of its efforts is the same activity as groups opposed to further fish stocks mobilising their advocates.

I found the absence of ASC who were the certifying authority puzzling as this was the body that WWF were relying on for authentication. Though WWF’s commentary on use of their logo was genuinely confusing. That they put a price on the use of their logo is OK, I think others may do too - can someone tell me if Choice get a fee for the use of its logo ?

The colorant is a synthesised version of a natural product, this in itself doesn’t worry me but the programme failed to say if the product has any harmful effects, some colours are bad for you other aren’t.


There is info about potential harmful effects, look what it’s done to Trump! :wink: on Wikipedia.


The WWF are the culprits by not being honest. Donations at any cost should not be their main objective. However, the whole 4 four corners programme seemed confusing.

can someone tell me if Choice get a fee for the use of its logo ?

We do! All outlined here

Key is that… “The CHOICE Recommended logo can be used for marketing only the models that are recommended by CHOICE.”


I stopped eating meat and poultry about 30 years ago. I did however continue with seafood. What I am struggling to digest is that farmed carnivorous fish in Aust and most countries (including salmon, trout, barra, kingfish) are fed feed pellets that are about 40% composed of poultry and land animal protein. Waste product from those industries. I find it rather creepy and harks of Mad Cow Disease. Fish don’t generally consume chook or lamb on a day to day basis.

That said, this practice means that fewer fish need to be killed to be used in the feed pellets and it puts waste products to use. So that’s a good thing - but again part of my decision to stop eating poultry etc was because of intensive farming conditions. I still buy these meats for my children and husband but only free range. I HIGHLY doubt that any discrimination between battery hens and free range hens is made when selecting product for fish feed. So even by consuming fish, I am as a side-effect, supporting farming practices I loathe.

It’s a circular debate in my head ! And also a very first-world one in that I am fortunate enough to be able to choose what I want to eat while most in the world take what they are given and many still starve. End of day though, I guess if I stop eating these farmed fish it really doesn’t impact anyone else.

The pink colour is also concerning on that issue and follows the pattern of consumers wanting their food to look a certain colour, shape, size etc. Wild Alaskan Salmon are bright pink - red because of their natural diet and krill consumption. Why are people happy to eat white snapper but insist on pink salmon etc which requires an artificial dietary addition?

It’s all getting a bit crazy, scary and very unnatural. Maybe I should just get myself a fishing rod and learn to fish !

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You could always grow your own fish and feed them entirely on bugs, maggots etc. I too gave up eating meat and poultry in the late 1980s, but I like my fish. When I couldn’t stand the depletion of fish stocks or farming methods any more, I started growing my own. I’m working with an organic animal feed manufacturer to produce organically certified pellets, the products from which they are made will at least be ethically and organically grown. We spoke about the pigments, and small quantities are apparently allowed under the organic standard, although we didn’t discuss their origin.

What sort of fish do you have ? In a suburban back-yard ??!!

Rainbow trout. I’m out of town, but plenty of people do the same in their suburban back yards!
I have a few pics and videos at http://gunagulla.com