Australia’s Salmon Tasmania has launched a series of videos aimed at raising awareness of the realities of the salmon farming industry. In the videos – “honest and unscripted”- it talks to salmon farm workers and asks them about the most common misconceptions in a series of “simple but frank” interviews, as explained in a press release. For the organization’s directors, the great enemy is misinformation.
The campaign will appear on all of Salmon Tasmania’s social networks and, early this year, will become a full campaign using both social networks and traditional media. According to them, Salmon Tasmania represents a modern, sophisticated aquaculture industry, feeding the world sustainably.
In that regard, the charity’s Director of Communications, Stuart Harris, said: “We are really excited to take a different approach to dealing with this issue. False stories and incorrect information have been seeded in the community for a long time, so we needed a fun and lighthearted way to engage in a very serious conversation.”
“We hope the way we’re presenting it is something the community will listen to and be proud of,” he finished.
Tackling misinformation head-on
Sue Grau, CEO of Salmon Tasmania, stated that “activists have had a free run up until now. This clear air has allowed them to mislead the community with what is at times absurd misinformation. The time has come to confront the misinformation head on and have an honest and open conversation with the people of Tasmania.”
“According to Salmon Tasmania members, in the island state they inhabit there is a long history of confrontational and highly funded activism by well-established organizations.”
“In the 1980s there were protests against the establishment of our hydroelectric schemes (ironically, the state now enjoys 100% renewable energy status). In the 1990s and 2000s, it was the forestry wars and, in more recent times, strong campaigns against other Tasmanian initiatives, such as a cable car in Hobart and the relocation of the local university to the city center. Now the new target is now salmon farming,” they said.
Salmon and trout farming industry
According to the Tasmanian Agri-food Scorecard, the Tasmanian salmon and trout farming industry currently creates 2,292 direct FTE (full-time equivalent) jobs and over 10,000 indirect FTE jobs, and has a gross production value of AUD 888 million (almost USD 600 millions).
The Tasmanian salmon industry, while supplying just 1.6% of the world salmon supply, is the largest fishery in Australia by both volume and economic value. Farmed salmon has become the leading farming activity in Tasmania ahead of dairy, vegetables, poppies, pyrethrum, beef, fine wool, wine and the apple industry.
“The industry has a strong record of encouraging training and skills development, creating career paths to attract and retain skilled staff, especially in regional communities. The positive impact of the industry on the economy spreads well beyond direct employment with the salmon companies, and the flow-on impacts into the broader community are significant.”
There is now a thriving ancillary sector providing imports to the industry such as vessels, cages, nets, feed, training, transport and logistics, and a range of contract and consultancy services.
The wages of those employed as a direct result of the industry or supporting sector drive local businesses, creating further employment in local retailers. They also underpin the viability of community services such as schools and medical facilities. Internationally recognized for its innovation, the industry continues to be one of our State’s great success stories of the past 30-years.
Tassal Group, Petuna and Huon Aquaculture are the companies that make up Salmon Tasmania.