The health and welfare of our salmon is of critical importance to the Tasmanian salmon industry. To that end, a variety of operational and technical mechanisms are in place including environmental and active health monitoring, and wildlife exclusion. Innovation in transport methods and fish nutrition also contribute to fish welfare, as do the industry’s aquatic veterinarians and other fish health professionals who work closely with farming operations.
Salmon Tasmania believes that a strong biosecurity regime is fundamental to both the existence and continued growth of our industry. We strongly supported the introduction of the Biosecurity Act 2019 and have worked to develop a collaborative industry/government Biosecurity Plan. www.nre.tas.gov.au/biosecurity-tasmania
Fish stocking densities in the Tasmanian salmon industry are among the world’s lowest at about 1% – that’s 1% salmon and 99% water. Put another way, 8-12 kg of salmon swim in 1,000 kg (1,000 litres) of water. Besides ensuring the fish have plenty of room to swim around, this allows oxygenated water to flow through the pen, maintains water quality, reduces disease risks and provides a healthy, natural environment for our salmon.
The ingredients in salmon feed, like all stock feed in Australia, are rigorously controlled and audited, and fully traceable back to the original source. All feed ingredients are approved under the Australian Stockfeed and Petfood Regulations, governed by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).
- Feed is formulated to meet a specification that changes with each stage of the salmon’s growth, and industry suppliers manufacture to this specification. In Australia, feed companies are legally required to disclose ingredient details which is why Tasmanian farmed salmon is a safe, nutritious, healthy, and sustainable food. Refer to www.biomar.com/en/australia, www.ridley.com.au and www.skretting.com/en-au for more information.
- Our fish must be fed with food that provides all the energy and nutrients they need to thrive, grow, and stay healthy. Industry works with our feed supplier to continually refine our feed to optimise fish health and wellbeing. We also work to improve the sustainability of our feed, and therefore of the industry as a whole – the percentage of wild-caught fish products in our feed has been significantly reduced. Land and vegetable ingredients in our feeds are all sourced from responsible suppliers with a focus on traceability, sustainability and quality. The feed used by the Tasmanian salmon industry does not contain ingredients of genetically modified (transgenic) origin and we never feed our fish growth hormones or growth promoters.
The colour of salmon is due to an antioxidant called astaxanthin that enters the salmon food chain naturally, in the wild. It’s an important nutrient for the fish and is crucial to the salmon natural reproductive cycle. Salmon cannot make their own astaxanthin. Wild salmon get their required dose of astaxanthin from eating crustaceans, namely krill. As part of careful feed design, synthesised astaxanthin, the same as that found in wild salmon is added to the feed of farmed salmon. Astaxanthin is considered safe for human consumption and is even included in some nutraceutical products.
Antibiotic use in Tasmanian salmon farming is rare and limited to isolated health issues; we have reduced dependency on antibiotics through good site management, fish husbandry and rigorous biosecurity measures, including vaccines developed by Tasmania’s Centre for Aquatic Animal Health and Vaccines. If a veterinarian determines that there is a need to treat any fish stocks with antibiotics, the course is highly supervised, reported, strictly regulated by government, and there is a strict withholding period which means that any traces are completely passed through the fish long before it is harvested.
Companies public report their antibiotic use and participate in the Australian Government’s National Residue Survey www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/food/nrs