WWF & Tassal | wwf

WWF & Tassal

Working together for responsible aquaculture

About Tassal

Tassal, which includes the de Costi Seafood brand, is the most significant aquaculture business in Australia by volume and market share. The company is committed to leading best practice environmentally responsible standards in the salmon farming industry.
Tassal is a vertically integrated company that includes freshwater hatcheries, saltwater aquaculture, salmon processing, value adding stages through to distribution, sales, marketing and retail. However, running such large-scale operations across some of the Tasmania’s most important marine habitats can have unwanted side-effects on the wider ocean ecosystem.

What we’re doing together

The video below offers a short summary of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) commitment made by Tassal in partnership with WWF. It’s a case study showing how business can partner with WWF to achieve gold standard sustainability certifications.

Since 2012, WWF-Australia and Tassal have been working together in a partnership for responsible aquaculture. In doing so, WWF and Tassal have sought to significantly improve the sustainability of their product. As the industry leader in Australian aquaculture, Tassal’s commitments will have a far-reaching impact on the availability of responsibly farmed seafood products in stores.

Our role

Since 2012, WWF has helped Tassal with their responsible aquaculture journey by:
  • providing expert advice on the development and implementation of Tassal’s sustainability strategy and action plans
  • reviewing the sustainability of Tassal’s operations, offering support  and making recommendations
  • providing guidance through the various stages of the ASC certification process.

A first for Australian salmon farming

In November 2014 Tassal became the first producer of farmed salmon globally to achieve full Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification across all sites.
ASC certification is the highest standard for responsibly farmed seafood in the world and provides consumers with an assurance they are purchasing seafood from farms that manage their impacts on the environment and communities to this high standard.

The ASC is an independent, not-for-profit organisation, founded in 2010 by IDH (Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative) and WWF - established to manage global standards for responsible aquaculture. The ASC works with aquaculture producers, seafood processors, retail and food service companies, scientists, conservation groups and the public to promote best environmental and social choice in responsibly farmed seafood.

From the commencement of the partnership with WWF, achieving ASC certification had been identified as a major partnership milestone for Tassal, resulting in the target of Tassal meeting the ASC standards of responsible aquaculture practices by 2015.  That ambitious target has in fact been met a year ahead of schedule. Further, Tassal committed to educating consumers about responsibly produced seafood, including ASC certified products.

WWF acknowledges the significant commitment such an achievement represents and congratulates Tassal for taking a global leadership position. It means ASC certified salmon now accounts for around 60% of Australia’s salmon supply.

Find out more about Tassal seafood and sustainability.

Sheppards farm site, D’Entrecasteaux Channel (looking north), Tasmania. Tassal aquaculture © Richard Jupe
Sheppards farm site, D’Entrecasteaux Channel (looking north), Tasmania. Tassal aquaculture © Richard Jupe

Tassal commitments

Smolt being transferred to Tassal’s Robert’s Point farm site, D’Entrecasteaux Channel, Tasmania. ... 
	© Richard Jupe
By 2015: Tassal aims to be a leader in responsible aquaculture production in Australia with all existing and new products meeting best practice, environmentally responsible standards.

ASC Certification: Tassal became the first aquaculture operation globally to achieve ASC certification across its sites, in November 2014.

Tassal is the first salmon company in the world to be deemed responsible through ASC certification – an independent and scientific certification process – across all its operations.

WWF-Australia is proud of this achievement by Tassal, a company demonstrating leadership to mitigate the environment impacts of aquaculture. Poorly managed aquaculture operations impact on our marine species and environments. But when done properly, aquaculture can indeed take pressure off marine ecosystems by reducing exploitation of wild caught fisheries. When aquaculture operations are managed responsibly, the industry can help solve the challenge of feeding a growing global population without placing further stresses on the environment.

I congratulate Tassal on their continued efforts, and look forward to working in partnership into the future.

Dermot O’Gorman, Chief Executive Officer, WWF-Australia

Partnership highlights

WWF and Tassal together have made great progress since the partnership began.  In addition to achieving full ASC certification for all sites in 2014, Tassal’s achievements have included:

Being benchmarked as No.1 salmon farm in the world, by seafoodintelligence.com for high standards in corporate, social and environmental reporting

• Investing significant resources in the roll-out of new ‘kikko nets’ across all operations to minimise interactions between the farm and local wildlife, including seals and birds. Tassal dive staff are now fully trained on seal interaction procedures and seal behavior.

Committed to not euthanising seals. In addition, Tassal has openly reported all interactions for the last three years in their Sustainability Report.

Reduced wildlife interactions with seabirds, seals and other marine mammals. Tassal has developed a comprehensive Wildlife Interaction Plan including a new bird management protocol.

• Completely eliminated use of copper anti-foulant paints on its cages ahead of schedule removing the risk of harmful copper components leaching into the marine environment.

Dramatically reduced the wild fish component of its salmon feed.

• Hired two new on-site veterinarians; and developed and implemented fish health management plans for all operational sites around Tasmania.

• Developed new ways of reducing fish escapes from pens.

• Championed openness and transparency, by sharing information with stakeholders through an annual Sustainability Report.