Tasmanian salmon workers fight to defend their industry
Tasmania was once known for its thriving apple export industry but today it is becoming more famous for the production of high-quality farmed Atlantic Salmon. The State's salmon aquaculture industry took off in the mid 1980s with the establishment of a land-based hatchery and the first estuarine pens.
Today the industry supports over 5,000 jobs. The industry is dominated by three private companies, Tassal, Huon Acquaculture, and Petuna Seafoods; all three have union-negotiated Enterprise Agreements with their workers.
In the early years, the Tasmanian salmon industry enjoyed widespread public support as an environmentally responsible alternative to harvesting wild fisheries. Recently, however, it has found itself under a massive attack from environmental groups who seek to portray the industry in a negative light.
A downturn in the salmon industry will have a particularly damaging impact on remote rural areas where there are limited employment options for local workers. Tasmania already has a high rate of youth unemployment compared to other Australian states.
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