2011/735 An evaluation of the options for expansion of Salmonid aquaculture in Tasmanian waters

2011/735 An evaluation of the options for expansion of Salmonid aquaculture in Tasmanian waters

By Catriona McLeod



The Tasmanian Salmonid Growers Association (TSGA) strategic plan to 2030 targets a 100% expansion to a $1 billion industry over the next 20 years. The challenge for the Tasmanian Atlantic salmon industry is for sustainable strategic growth. The strategic plan recognises that to achieve this industry needs to examine alternate production technologies and/or strategies, and to adopt a collaborative approach with Government and other stakeholders with respect to key social and environmental issues and mitigation strategies.

Continued growth of the industry beyond 2015 is constrained by availability of sheltered inshore sites and regulatory limitations on expansion associated with nutrient limitations in the receiving waters. Therefore an examination of alternate technologies and or strategies for production is essential if the strategic target is to be achieved. Such technologies could be financially viable if measured against the current environmental costs of net pen salmon farming in existing areas; for example the costs associated with controlling and managing amoebic gill disease (AGD).

The challenge for this project was to identify and evaluate the production, health, environmental and societal costs/benefits and risks associated with production expansion options. Opportunities and strategies need to be evaluated that could be adopted in either existing farming areas, or in new areas such as more exposed high energy waters or onshore. This project needed to consider associated management practices, whilst preserving / enhancing the environmental sustainability credentials of the Tasmanian Atlantic Salmon industry, and the Australian aquaculture industry.

This project reviewed currently available and proven technologies that had the potential to address the key environmental limitations facing industry development, will critically evaluate the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of the most applicable options and in the final component will recommend and develop a pilot project to test the theoretical assumptions under local conditions.

Project Objectives

  1. To review existing and emerging options for the expansion of the Tasmanian Atlantic Salmon industry
  2. To develop a holistic risk based model to assess the viability of production expansion options and undertake an options analysis; making recommendations for further evaluation
  3. With stakeholder approval and financial support, test the analysis recommendations by employing engineering / environmental modeling, and then evaluate the preferred option(s) in pilot sites applications.