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Tassal defends salmon farming practices

AAP logoAAP 24/10/2016 Trevor Chappell

Salmon farmer Tassal has issued a statement to the ASX defending its farming and certification practices after an interview by the ABC's Four Corners program.

Tassal said on Monday that earlier in October, a Four Corners crew had interviewed chief executive Mark Ryan about sustainable salmon farming in Tasmania.

In a seven-page document covering matters "not fully covered during the interview", Tassal said it was not aware when the Four Corners report would air but had "adopted a transparent approach" on the issues raised.

Among matters raised, the company said the interview covered the sustainability of salmon farming in Macquarie Harbour on Tasmania' west coast, with issues mentioned including preparation of a mass mortality plan.

Tassal said Four Corners reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna had noted claims that fish were suffocating and reports of the death of significant numbers of salmon in Macquarie Harbour.

Mr Ryan said Tassal was always within stocking densities set in its licence conditions for Macquarie Harbour, and that the company lowered the stocking density if water conditions were adverse.

The company said rejected any suggestion that the development of a Mass Mortality Plan for Macquarie Harbour was a sign that salmon farming in Macquarie Harbour was unsustainable.

The Environmental Protection Agency had asked all fish growers in Macquarie Harbour to develop a Mass Mortality Plan for Macquarie Harbour, it said.

Other issues raised by Four Corners included payments to conservation organisation WWF-Australia and the payment of a fee to an independent auditor to achieve ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) certification of Tassal's production process.

Tassal said it paid WWF $250,000 in the 2015/16 financial year for services and conservation projects but refuted absolutely any claim that it had "bought" WWF support.

The Four Corners program is due to air on October 31.

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