Documents Indicated Tasmanian Salmon Company Tassal Attempted To Stop Release Of Reports On Antibiotic Use

Over two tonnes of antibiotics used

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Tasmania’s salmon giant, Tassal, attempted to block the release of the state’s Environment Protection Agency(EPA)’s monitoring report after the company deposited over 600 kgs of oxytetracycline in two of its fish farms last year. 

Tassal said the antibiotics were used to combat an outbreak of the bacterial vibrio disease, while the report uncovered that the company tried to block the information of using 1.3 tonnes of antibiotics at Okehampton Bay near Triabunna. 

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According to the EPA, Tassal provided “a number of legal reasons” why the reports should not be published in a complete form. 

The company refused to release the details of how much antibiotic was used in each infected salmon cage.  

Dr Rosalie Woodruff, the Greens environment spokesperson, said the state’s EPA had failed their duty to enforce effective monitoring and reporting of antibiotic use and spread throughout the food chain. 

“RTI information reports, however, that flathead caught two kilometres from Tassal’s salmon lease off Coningham Beach had antibiotics higher than the allowed limit. The EPA sat on that and other antibiotic use information for over two years before going public,” Dr Woodruff said. 

“This will rightly shock thousands of Tasmanian recreational fishers. The EPA’s responsibility should be protecting our waterways, not the super profits of big salmon,” she said. 

Dr Woodruff said alternative measures should be enforced, including a robust vaccination regime and strict antibiotic monitoring when there are no other options. 

“In Norway, the world’s largest producer of farmed salmon, the majority of farmed salmon are never treated with antibiotics, with only 43 prescriptions issued in 2021”. 

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Caitlin Duan

28 February 2023

Article by:

Caitlin Duan

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