August 2017 Hobart Mercury
Tasmania’s two largest salmon producers will review research that linked the accelerated growth rate of farmed salmon to hearing deficiencies in up to 50 per cent of fish. The research discusses whether effects on hearing contravene two of the “five freedoms” – freedom from hunger and thirst, freedom from discomfort, freedom from pain, injury or disease, freedom to express normal behaviour, and freedom from fear and distress – that are universally applied as a guide to ensuring the welfare of animals under human control. A Tassal spokesman said the company’s geneticist and veterinarian would review the research. Huon Aquaculture executive director Frances Bender said her company was monitoring research in the area of animal welfare “with interest”. Petuna declined to comment.
Meanwhile, Tassal will not be able to include its 266 Franklin lease in stocking calculations for the 2017 smolt input in Macquarie Harbour, after the deadline for the Environment Protection Authority to approve restocking the lease passed. The EPA directed Tassal to destock lease 266 earlier this year, after an underwater survey identified 14 noncompliance issues. EPA director Wes Ford previously said he would need to tick-off on the lease’s recovery by August 1 for Tassal to be able to include the 266 lease in its calculations for how much smolt it could put in the harbour for the 2017 year. But the company has not yet requested the EPA conduct a pre-stocking assessment of the double-sized lease, which sits closest to the World Heritage Area border. Mr Ford said monitoring results from May indicated sediments were recovering and that there were no significant visual impacts from the lease boundary. “Although this is a positive sign, (I) need to be satisfied there is adequate recovery within the lease itself prior to assessing the lease for restocking,” Mr Ford said.