Surely fish farms are essential to Tasmania because of the jobs they provide?
- Yes, employment is a very important factor in areas such as the Huon Valley and D’Entrecasteaux Channel, but overall, fish farms employ only around one percent of the Tasmanian workforce. What’s more, employment is decreasing because of productivity improvements in remote feeding and monitoring technology, and more automated larger ships.
- There is related employment in downstream industries such as logistics, transport, wholesaling and retailing, but most if not all of these jobs would remain if the industry were to move entirely on land.
- The oceans around Tasmania are warming fast. This has caused mass salmon deaths, most recently in the Tamar River. In other parts of the World the industry is moving on land as the best solution to this threat to its very existence.
- Yet the industry persists with increasingly obsolete and unsustainable methods, and the government does nothing to encourage diversification of methods, markets or products, or to prepare for the re-skilling, re-training and redeployment required when the industry fails.
There will be no employment for Tasmanians if the industry cannot operate with its present methods, and its obsession with a single product, because of ocean warming.
What about the income for Government?
- Fish farmers pay very little to use our waterways or fresh water. The cost of leases in other parts of the world is far higher, and much of the money raised goes specifically to local communities. Not so in Tasmania.
- Now that all three salmon companies are 100% overseas owned, all profits go overseas.
- Relative to salmon farming, our tourism, hospitality and agricultural industries are far more important, and will suffer reputational damage if current fish farming operations continue unchanged and unchecked.