lutruwita/Tasmania is fortunate to be surrounded by waters that support incredible ecosystems that are home to globally unique and precious marine wildlife. With that comes great responsibility, and unfortunately the feedlot salmon industry is not taking that responsibility seriously.
Interactions between marine mammals - like protected seals and whales - and feedlot salmon activities result from salmon companies encroaching on their habitat and migration routes. There is competition for space, potential for entanglement, underwater noise pollution as well as light pollution.
A whale in Canada entangled in ropes from feedlot salmon farms.
The salmon industries interactions with seals perfectly illustrate the seriousness of the problem. In the last decade we have seen controversial seal removal and relocation efforts, deliberate entrapment of seals without permit, and instances of seals being trapped and starved inside feedlot salmon pens. Shockingly the authorities are reluctant to take action and have actively covered up aniaml welfare scandals, forcing the community to use Right To Information Laws to uncover breaches of animal welfare laws that occured years earlier.
It's not just animals under the sea that have become victim to feedlot salmon infrastructure, but birdlife too. Many millions of birds depend on the richness of the oceans around lutruwita/Tasmania. Though data isn't always forthcoming, we know that birds become entangled in infrastructure, suffer injuries, and are killed. In 2018, 19 birds were reported to have died in Tassal operations while 6 unknown species of birds - potentially also endangered - died in Huon operations. And this is just based on company self-reporting.
With massive expansions planned for industrial salmon farms in the north west of the island, on the Tasman Peninsula, Storm Bay, and surrounding Bruny Island, the chances that more of our most loved marine life interacting with feedlot salmon infrastructure increases. The community deserves to know what is happening in public waters so we can best advocate for their protection.
You can help by signing our petition to the supermarkets - the biggest buyers of feedlot salmon - and ask them to stop buying the dirtiest salmon.