Huon Aquaculture accounted for the deaths of at least three-quarters of seals killed at Tasmanian salmon farms since the start of last year, with new data showing the company released more than 8,000 underwater explosives aimed at scaring the seals.
Government data released in response to a right-to-information request revealed Huon Aquaculture, now owned by the controversial Brazilian meat company JBS, used 8,057 underwater explosives against seals in the 15 months to the end of March. The company accounted for 18 of the 23 seal deaths over the period.
Under Tasmanian laws, companies are allowed to use underwater explosives, known as “seal crackers”, which can scare seals with loud noise and a flash of light. Other authorised measures include shooting seals with fabric-coated plastic shells containing lead shot, known as bean bag rounds, and darts with blunt tips known as “scare caps”.
The data released by the Department Natural Resources and Environment showed the salmon industry has used more than 125,000 explosive devices since 2016.
Between the first and second halves of the 15 months, Tassal and Petuna slashed their use of explosive devices by more than 75%. Huon Aquaculture went in the opposite direction, increasing its use by more than 10%.
Lead Image: Huon Aquaculture accounts for 18 of the 23 seal deaths at Tasmanian salmon farms in the 15 months to the end of March 2022, according to government data Photograph: Stocktrek Images, Inc./Alamy.
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