Tassal is the most significant aquaculture business in Australia by volume and market share. With products found in fishmongers and supermarkets around the country, the Tasmanian firm is committed to leading the salmon farming industry by example.
Tassal is vertically integrated across its entire salmon farming production and retail chain. Running such large-scale operations in Tasmania’s delicate marine habitats requires careful management to avoid unwanted environmental side-effects.
WWF has worked with Tassal since 2012, offering expert advice on its sustainability strategy and guiding the company as it implemented audited standards of sustainable practice.
In November 2014 Tassal became the first producer of farmed salmon in the world to achieve full Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification.
ASC certification is the highest independent standard for responsibly farmed seafood in the world. It provides consumers with scientifically robust assurances that they are purchasing seafood from farms that manage their impacts on surrounding environments and communities.
On the journey to ASC accreditation, Tassal have changed many practices to benefit the environment, including:
- Stopped the use of copper-based anti-fouling net-cleaning chemicals
- 95% reduction in the use of antibiotics
- Reducing the reliance on wild fish for salmon food
As the market leader for farmed salmon in Australia, Tassal's commitment has had a profound influence. Expectations for sustainability within the industry and among consumers has grown considerably in the wake of its actions.
The bottom line
Aquaculture – the farming of sea or freshwater food, including animals and plants – will play an increasingly important role in feeding the world as our population and wealth grows. With good management and operational practices, aquaculture can be practiced sustainably to reduce its environmental impact.
Tassal's salmon farms are leading the way in ASC best practice – having achieved the highest credible aquaculture sustainability standards in the world – and others are catching on.
Projects supported by Tassal
- Gudjuda Turtle Rehabilitation Centre - Tassal has contributed funds to the establishment of a Turtle Rehabilitation Centre by the Gudjuda Reference Group Aboriginal Corporation at the Gudjuda Rangers base in Home Hill, Queensland. The main objective of the turtle hospital is to provide immediate triage and care to injured and stranded turtles. Read more here
- Girringun TUMRA Seagrass Monitoring – Seagrass is a vitally important food source for sea turtles and dugong within the Sea Country boundary of the Girringun Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement (TUMRA ), the longest running TUMRA in Queensland to date. This project aims to build upon the seagrass monitoring work already established, and further assess sub tidal sites for health and regeneration of seagrass meadows.
- Peruvian Anchovy Fishery Improvement Project - The initial funding for a Fishery Improvement Project for the largest single species fishery globally, and a globally important fishery for fish ingredients into feed for farmed fish. This project has developed a comprehensive science based plan to improve the fishery towards MSC standards to ensure that this resource is managed to the best sustainability standards. Read more here.
- Harmonisation of Wild Caught Seafood Rapid Ecological Risk Assessment Methodologies – The diversity of ecological risk assessment methodologies in the seafood supply chain industry causes confusion for producers and consumers and those in between. This project is bringing together all commonly used systems and their owners to benchmark methods against each other and determine how criteria can be aligned to reduce confusion and encourage an increased uptake of sustainable seafood at both the production and consumer end.
- Snubfin dolphin - To help develop an understanding of inshore dolphin and dugong distributions Tassal funding was used to purchase a purpose built research vessel to enable James Cook University to conduct surveys along the northern Great Barrier Reef and to provide on the water survey training for local Indigenous Sea Rangers and Traditional Sea Country Owners. Read more here.