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Food and beverage stories

Petuna scores a unique double

Edition163 Tetsuya's Confit of Petuna Ocean Trout ... one of the world's most celebrated dishes

Devonport-based seafood business Petuna has become the first fish-farmer in the world to be awarded Best Aquaculture Practice for both ocean trout and salmon at the same site.

The Global Aquaculture Alliance provided the double certification after assessing aspects of Petuna’s Macquarie Harbour operations, including its environmental care, community relations, employee safety, food safety, animal health and care of wildlife.

Petuna’s double certification of sustainability is the first the alliance has issued anywhere in the world.

Petuna ocean trout, grown at Macquarie Harbour, is favoured by some of the world’s finest chefs.

For more than 20 years the fish has been featured in Tetsuya Wakuda’s Confit of Petuna Ocean Trout which was once the world’s most photographed dish.

Petuna CEO Mark Porter said: “Environmental and social responsibility is a key to our business and adding ocean trout to our already accredited Atlantic salmon demonstrates the continued hard work and dedication our team puts in across every aspect of our business.”

The State’s biggest salmon producer Tassal has achieved similar accreditation from the Aquaculture Stewardship Council for all its salmon-growing operations.

Tasmania’s three major salmon producers – Tassal, Huon Aquaculture and Petuna – made a joint submission to a Senate inquiry chaired by Tasmanian Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson in July.

The Tasmanian Salmonid Growers Association, representing the three businesses, said their growth target of $1 billion annual turnover within 15 years and a workforce of about 3,000 could be met without unacceptable impacts.

The inquiry, described by the Tasmanian Premier, Will Hodgman, as a “witch hunt" heard allegations of damage to coastal and river environments and complaints by some neighbours about falling property values, noise and visual impacts.

There was also neighbourly evidence about the benefits of the industry which is worth $626 million and directly employs 1,600 people.

The Tasmanian Salmonid Growers Association’s Adam Main told the Sunday Tasmanian: “We’ll be able to achieve significant growth as the consumer demand increases by just consolidating and focusing on what existing leases we have.

“We can meet our current targets with what we have.”

Dr Main said improved farming practices would mean more fish surviving in the existing number of pens, while the increasing value of Tasmania’s salmon would also contribute to the growth target.

The industry has invested significantly in technology for offshore pens, which could reduce the need to share coastal areas with locals, including disgruntled abalone divers and an unhappy mussel farmer.

Senator Whish-Wilson said a leaked email from two Tasmanian growers outlining concerns about dissolved oxygen levels in Macquarie Harbour continued to raise questions.

He said there had been conflicting evidence about oxygen levels and the deaths of tens of thousands of fish, revealed in May, were still to be explained.

“I would have liked all three of the CEOs to have been appearing together at the Senate inquiry so we could have got to the heart of the matter, which is: do they all agree that expanding their existing footprint is a good thing?” he said.

The inquiry was launched in March by the Senate’s Environment and Communications Committee which has a majority of Australian Greens and Australian Labour Party members.

The committee will report by August 10 on the adequacy of planning and regulatory mechanisms, interaction of State and Federal laws and regulations and the industry’s impacts on threatened and endangered species.

5 August 2015, Edition 163

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