Fish Welfare

Image source: Corin Smith

Industrial salmon has immense animal welfare issues.

salmon farming fish welfare

Tasmania’s Atlantic salmon are selectively bred to grow rapidly, resulting in frequent deformities. This causes abnormal behaviour, stunted development and blindness.

Caged in high-density, parasites and disease are common. The treatment involves salmon violently sucked through a pipe into the hold of a ship, “bathed” in chemically-treated water, then spat back into a cage through another pipe. It is a painful, stressful process with thousands dying unreported every year. In some years the process may be repeated several dozen times.
In two years, 127,809.4 tonnes of salmon were reported as dying of disease and asphyxiation.
The true numbers will never be known as regulations do not demand reporting of all deaths.
Freshwater bathing for Amoebic Gill Disease mitigation is painful to the salmon, and occurs many times in a grow-out cycle.


Our wildlife also suffers

Warming waters mean fish suffer constant noise, as air is constantly pumped into the water to raise oxygen levels.
Underwater explosives, lead-weighted projectiles and blunt darts are legally used against protected fur seals to deter them from salmon cages. As many as 23 seals are reported to be killed each year— though many deaths may not be reported.
Many sea birds die each year entangled in nets.


seal explosive and salmon farming

EPA protection for the salmon industry

The Tasmanian EPA protects the salmon companies from disclosing the full extent of the deaths by only requiring them to report those deaths when they involve a large number of fish dying daily for more than three days running. The EPA is not obliged to report these figures publicly.