More than 65% support salmon farming in Tasmania finds survey

Matthew Wilcox

The salmon industry in Australia has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months, does a new survey mark a shift in public opinion?

A recent survey conducted by Tasmanian Newspaper The Mercury has revealed a significant shift in public opinion towards fish farming in Tasmania.

According to the survey results, 65% of respondents support fish farming in the region, and 58% consume Tasmanian farmed salmon, indicating a growing acceptance and appreciation of the local aquaculture industry.

The paper’s survey also highlighted a 15% improvement in public understanding of industry monitoring, suggesting increased awareness of the environmental and scientific measures employed in fish farming.

These findings will come as welcome news to the Australian state’s embattled salmon farmers.

Industry under fire

In November, the Australian Minister for the Environment, Tanya Plibersek, sent a letter to the Tasmanian government, indicating a possible reconsideration of decade-old salmon farms in Macquarie Harbour due to concerns about their impact on a critically endangered species.

Then, in December, the industry was slammed in the country’s federal parliament by Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, who took the opportunity to raise concerns about the environmental impact of salmon farming in Tasmania.

“Salmon farming is obviously an important industry in Tasmania, but it’s not so important that it should be allowed to ride roughshod over local communities and the environment generally, or continue to drive the Maugean skate to extinction in Macquarie Harbour in particular,” said Wilkie.

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Tide turning?

Luke Martin, CEO of Salmon Tasmania, commented on the survey results, stating, “These results are encouraging and demonstrate that a majority of Tasmanians support and understand the salmon industry, and that number is increasing year on year.”

Martin acknowledged past shortcomings in communications around the industry. “The industry acknowledges we have fallen short in demonstrating and articulating to Tasmanians the high level of monitoring, science, and reporting that our industry is guided by, and this is something we are working hard to address and something I am determined to lead,” he said.

Addressing concerns about misinformation spread by activist groups, Martin emphasized the importance of consumer choice and the quality of local produce. “There is no doubt that activist groups spreading misinformation put doubt in some people’s minds; however, we are very proud of the fact that more than half the Tasmanians surveyed speak via their actions and enjoy eating the healthy, sustainable, and delicious local produce that our Tasmanian farmers grow,” Martin said.


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