Ample room for fish
Fish stocking densities in the Tasmanian salmon industry are among the world’s lowest at about 1% - that’s 1% salmon and 99% water. Put another way, 8-12 kg of salmon swim in 1,000 kg (1,000 litres) of water.
Besides ensuring the fish have plenty of room to swim around, this allows oxygenated water to flow through the pen, maintains water quality, reduces disease risks and provides a healthy environment for our salmon.
By giving the salmon plenty of room to move they are able to behave naturally. Salmon have complex social structures and by keeping a population of fish together throughout their life, they are able to build and maintain cohesive communities.
Taking care of fish
The health and welfare of our salmon is of critical importance to the Tasmanian salmon industry. To that end, a variety of operational and technical mechanisms are in place including environmental and active health monitoring, and wildlife exclusion.
Innovation in transport methods and fish nutrition also contribute to fish welfare, as do the industry’s aquatic veterinarians and other fish health professionals who work closely with farming operations.
Our fish must be fed with food that provides all the energy and nutrients they need to thrive, grow, and stay healthy. Industry works with our feed supplier (which is a parter with IMAS’s Experimental Aquaculture Facility) to continually refine our feed to optimise fish health and wellbeing.
We also work to improve the sustainability of our feed, and therefore of the industry as a whole - the percentage of wild-caught fish products in our feed has been significantly reduced. Land and vegetable ingredients in our feeds are all sourced from responsible suppliers with a focus on traceability, sustainability and quality.
No genetically modified feed,
no growth hormones or promoters
The feed used by the Tasmanian salmon industry does not contain ingredients of genetically modified (transgenic) origin and we never feed our fish growth hormones or growth promoters.
Antibiotic use in Tasmanian salmon farming is rare and limited to isolated health issues; we have reduced dependency on antibiotics through alternative health strategies, including vaccines developed by Tasmania’s Centre for Aquatic Animal Health and Vaccines.
If a veterinarian determines that there is a need to treat any fish stocks with antibiotics, the course is highly supervised, reported, strictly regulated by government, and the antibiotics are required to pass through the stocks’ systems to ensure no trace is evident once harvested.
We do not treat our fish prophylactically or use antibiotics to promote growth.
Salmon is Pink
Salmon is pink due to an antioxidant called astaxanthin that enters the salmon food chain naturally, in the wild. It’s an important nutrient for the fish, and is crucial to the salmon natural reproductive cycle.
As part of careful feed design, synthesised astaxanthin, the same as that found in wild salmon, is added to the feed of farmed salmon. Astaxanthin is considered safe for human consumption and is even included in some nutraceutical products.
See https://www.skretting.com/en-AU/faqs/are-the-fish-artificially-coloured/ for more detailed information.