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Farmed Salmon: Green Or Not?

08 December 2009

AUSTRALIA - With the first salmon eggs shipped to Tasmania 20 years ago, the industry has continued to expand.

According to ABC News, farmed salmon is on its way to becoming the most popular table fish in the country and is now worth $350 million a year.

Salmon farmers have relied on marketing Tasmania's clean, green image to spearhead their assault on mainland and overseas markets.

Advertisers use phrases like "grown in the pristine oceans off Tasmania" and the industry has acknowledged that this association has been crucial to salmon's success.

But a growing number of critics say the marketing is a sham and that the waters of a salmon farm are more likely to be swirling with chemicals and waste.

A battle is being waged over whether salmon are a clean, green omega-rich super food or the battery hens of the sea.

Canadian environmentalist, Dr David Suzuki is a leading activist against farmed salmon and is at the forefront of the campaign in Australia and Canada, ABC News continues.

Tasmanian farmers have fought back, Tassal is one of the largest producers of farmed salmon, the company's CEO and Managing Director, Mark Ryan said: "There are always critics out there and I guess our test will be ultimately whether we are sustainable or not, and we're continuing to invest to make sure that we are."

Along with the implications of farmed salmon on wild ecosystems, the use of antibiotics have been a major problem.

On their website, Tassal say that they expect antibiotic use to continue to decrease, and while it is their goal to eliminate the use of antibiotics from their farms altogether, fish health and welfare must come first.



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