Tassal is the most significant aquaculture business in Australia by volume and market share with products found in fishmongers and supermarkets around the country.
From 2012 to 2018, WWF worked with Tassal to offer expert advice on its sustainability strategy and guided the company on its commitments to standards of sustainable practice.
Under the guidance of WWF, Tassal became the first salmon company in Australia to achieve ASC certification for a farm site, and the first company globally to achieve this standard across its operations in 2014.
ASC certification is the highest independent standard for sustainably 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.
The environmental benefits of this work included less pollution, eliminating the use of copper-based antifoulant paints on Tassal’s sea-cage nets, reducing reliance on wild fish for feed by approximately 30%, and lowering the use of antibiotics by 95%.
As a strategy to improve consumer awareness of ASC, in 2016 and 2017 WWF-Australia conducted a trial involving the dual placement of the ASC and WWF logo on ASC-certified Tassal products. The trial, conducted over two three-month periods in 2016 and 2017, was designed to increase consumer awareness and preference for ASC-certified products through association with the WWF logo. Following the trial, WWF’s logo has not been used on any Tassal product since the trial was completed in 2017.
Projects supported by Tassal
The partnership had additional outcomes beyond Tassal’s ASC certification. Our partnership with Tassal also enabled WWF-Australia to support Traditional Owners in Queensland to monitor seagrass, a James Cook University study of snubfin dolphins along the Great Barrier Reef, and a project in Peru to improve sustainable fishery practices.
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.
Our future plan for Tasmania
WWF’s commitment to marine conservation and a sustainable salmon industry in Tasmania is unwavering. We are proud of our achievements made under the Tassal partnership. The remaining significant environmental challenges are of a clear industry-wide nature.
WWF-Australia is expanding its approach to sustainable aquaculture and marine conservation in Tasmania by deepening its engagement with aquaculture companies, government, scientists and stakeholders. Over the next two years, WWF plans to work with industry, leading scientists, environmental groups and government to secure:
- A government commitment to enhanced marine spatial planning and protection that better accounts for all marine and coastal values and users;
- 100% certification of Tasmanian salmon production against the highest global standard for sustainable fish farming (the Aquaculture Stewardship Council or ASC), while also strengthening the standard to reflect Tasmanian conditions;
- More effective and transparent regulation of aquaculture, including more public disclosure of the environmental impacts of aquaculture; together with science-based limits on salmon farming to protect sensitive ecosystems and vulnerable species, notably in Macquarie Harbour.
WWF-Australia is excited about our whole of industry approach and looks forward to collaborative successes for Tasmania’s precious marine environment and sustainable industries.