The delicious Tassal salmon that you eat is Tasmanian grown Atlantic Salmon, Salmo salar. The original bloodlines of the Salmo salar were imported from Nova Scotia in Canada during the 1960s. The first fertilised Atlantic Salmon eggs were purchased from the Gaden hatchery in NSW in 1984, so beginning Tasmania’s Salmon farming industry. A sea farm was established in Dover, approximately 130 kilometres south of Hobart and a hatchery was developed at Wayatinah in the Central Highlands. Tassal continues to operate farms in the Dover region to this day.
Tassal is committed to the welfare of our salmon and excellent fish health is a top priority. That is why Tassal has dedicated fish health professionals on staff, including a fish veterinarian.
Salmon, like other animals, need the right conditions in order to be healthy. Salmon have a three year lifecycle from egg to harvest, so it is important that we choose farm sites that provide excellent growing conditions, and we must obtain or develop good quality fish stocks that are adapted to their environment.
We ensure that our fish are provided with nutritious food, reduce any potential sources of stress, and have caring staff that are attentive to our fish needs and their environment.
To maintain healthy fish populations we work closely with our fish veterinarian and fish researchers to implement proactive fish health practices.
Tassal has internal ‘Fish Health Management Plans’ in place and a robust Zero Harm for Fish program based on the UK RSPCA Freedom Food Animal Welfare Standards for Salmon.
Tassal has a World leading Selective Breeding program to breed salmon for Tasmanian conditions.
This program is based on traditional breeding principles.
Tassal does not farm GMO salmon and openly declares this in our annual sustainability reports and it is a requirement for ASC certification
Like any farmer we are morally obligated to look after our livestock on the rare occasion they get sick. Antibiotics, just as in human medicine, are a tool for our veterinarian.
It is rare for us to treat our fish with antibiotics, however, any salmon that are treated must go through a lengthy withdrawal period to ensure the antibiotic is cleansed from their system – this period is anywhere from 90 to 120 days. We never feed our fish antibiotics to enhance growth. Our antibiotic use is published in our annual sustainability reports and also on our ASC Dashboard.
Eating salmon is great for your health and farmed Tasmanian salmon as always, is a wholesome and safe choice for you and your family.
We are committed to the health and wellbeing of our salmon. Most importantly, the food that we feed our fish is designed to optimise their health and wellbeing, mimicking a wild salmon diet. Healthy fish grow well and will ultimately look great and taste delicious.
Our salmon feed is made up of:
• Fish meal and fish oil, these are sourced from forage fish which are a precious marine resource
• Land animal ingredients (chicken meal, blood meal and chicken oil)
• Vegetable ingredients (grain and protein meal)
As feed is one of our primary inputs into the production process, we have worked with our major feed suppliers and WWF-Australia to reduce our forage fish meal input and increase protein from other sources. This is good for the planet.
We have done this in direct response to stakeholder requests as well as being aligned with best practice certifications, including the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).
Our aim is to be a net fish producer (to produce more fish per kilogram than we utilise in the production process).
The pink colour of salmon flesh, and that of sea trout, is species specific and results from the presence of carotenoid pigments. There are more than 600 naturally occurring carotenoids. For example, they produce the colours of autumn leaves.
The group of carotenoids found in fish are known as xanthophylls and include astaxanthin. The red colour in salmon comes from these carotenoid pigments which are found in the fishes’ diet, in the wild these usually come from shrimp-like krill or other crustaceans that the salmon eat. Salmon extract these pigments and store in their muscles.
Astaxanthin is not just a pigment, it is closely related to beta-carotene (the precursor of vitamin A), and plays a role in the fishesâ€™ immune system and acts as a powerful antioxidant, promoting the good health of the fish.
As salmon are unable to synthesise these pigments, wild and farmed salmonids must take them in as part of their diet.
The carotenoids astaxanthin are added to the diets of farmed salmon to ensure our salmon are healthy and have all the nutrients they require and also that the flesh has the rich colour that our consumers seek.
The pigments may come from crustaceans, from yeast culture or, more usually, from nature identical synthesised products, which is the same compound of that eaten by wild salmon.
Whilst astaxanthin is synthesised it must be stressed that this is a pure version of what is eaten by wild salmon, this is why we refer to it as nature-identical. The vast majority of farmed salmon around the world are fed diets with nature-identical astaxanthin.
Given its health benefits in salmon feed, it is poor practice to make feeds for this species without astaxanthin, and it is not natural for salmon to be depleted of this nutrient. Salmon are not naturally white fleshed and thus farmed salmon are not naturally white fleshed.
Astaxanthin is approved for addition to the diet of farmed salmon and trout globally and approved in Australia. Astaxanthin has been declared safe for the human consumer by the exacting standards of the European Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP).
For more information on astaxanthin please refer to http://www.skretting.com/en-AU/faqs/whats-in-fish-feed/