Huon Aquaculture defends itself from #FreshApproachToSalmon campaign

Huon Aquaculture is defending itself from a campaign launched by Environment Tasmania (ET), calling claims the NGO made about Huon’s operations “false and malicious” and lacking factual evidence.

In a press statement last week, Huon – one of the three Tasmanian farmed salmon companies rated by the ET report – said that the campaign “has been designed to damage the brand reputation of one of Tasmania’s finest foods, produced by an industry that is more closely controlled and regulated than any other form of primary production.”

According to ET’s report, Huon, Tassal, and Petuna scored poorly on “major sustainability and animal welfare indicators.”

The three companies were given a red rating by ET on issues ranging from transparency, use of genetically altered ingredients, contributions to massive waste dumping, use of antibiotics, and the potential negative impact of salmon farming on seabirds.

But Huon said because ET refuses to provide criteria being used to justify the rating, it limits their ability to respond or alter practices to achieve the NGO's “standard.”

The company also rebuts claims by ET that Huon has caused the deaths of marine life under its pens. Huon said its leases with the Huon River/D’Entrecasteaux Channel have gone through extensive, independent broadscale monitoring for more than 20 years, and said it provides regular reports to government regulators.

The company also said that it has extended numerous invitations to ET to visit farm sites. Huon said if ET would visit its farm sites, it would find out that the company strives to be a world leader in terms of “environmental management, fish health practices, and biosecurity.”

“We believe while individuals are entitled to their opinions, environmental groups must remain ethical and not use their position to communicate misinformation to audiences that interpret their statements as factual,” the company stated.

Huon said it has been transparent in its antibiotic use, contrary to what ET claims. The company added that it recently hosted television programs at its farms for full tours, and showed the state of its farms – including portions underwater that ET claimed were covered in ‘thick layers of waste’ – on live television.

In response to Huon, ET said it did not make false claims and its report is backed by a long-term research project that commenced in 2018.

ET said its campaign is not aimed at ruining the company, but rather to increase consumer awareness of sustainability and animal welfare concerns related to salmon farming in Tasmania.

“The purpose of our campaign to inform consumers and petition supermarkets is to encourage Tasmanian salmon companies to adopt industry best practices across their operations, improving their sustainability and welfare practices where these do not already qualify for a GREEN rating,” the organization said.  


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