Salmon Farming

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Tasmania has the most valuable salmon industry in Australia, with the largest marine salmon farming industry ​​in the country supplying over 90 per cent of Australian Atlantic salmon production.​​​​

About Salmon Farming

Tasmanian salmon aquaculture is an important contributor to the state’s economy and to the overall Australian seafood market. Tasmania supplies over 90 per cent of Australian Atlantic salmon production, with a value of over $1 billion.

The Tasmanian Government works to support the development of a modern salmon industry that meets the long-term needs of Tasmanian operators and the local community. The modern Tasmanian salmon aquaculture industry is highly innovative, with a range of regulatory and operational measures bringing significant enhancements to the sector across sustainability, biosecurity and productivity.

The Tasmanian Salmon Industry Plan 2023​ provides an enduring strategic framework to guide the Government’s long term priorities for the industry.

​Key Species

Salmonid species farmed in Tasmania include:

  • Salmo salar (Atlantic salmon)

  • Oncorhynchus mykiss (Rainbow trout​)

​Cultivation Methods

​Salmon aquaculture in Tasmania is comprised of land-based freshwater hatcheries and marine based grow-out operations, along with advanced harvesting operations and vertically integrated processing and distribution capacity. ​

Freshwater hatcheries

Freshwater hatcheries are land-based aquaculture facilities that breed, hatch and rear juvenile salmonids, which are then transferred to marine fish farms for on-growing. 

Some hatcheries use sophisticated recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), which enable water re-use, improved environmental performance and controlled growing conditions. Others use flow-through systems or a combination of RAS and flow-through systems.

As outlined in the Tasmanian Salmon Industry Plan 2023, a framework will be developed to transition flow-through hatchery systems over a certain size to RAS. This will enable juvenile salmon to grow a larger size, thereby reducing the time spent on-growing in the marine environment.

Learn more about salmon hatcheries.​

​Marine farms

The waters of Tasmania produce some of the fastest growing salmon in the world. Salmon are kept in pens made of strong nets tensioned with ropes, protecting the salmon from predatory wildlife such as seals, birds and sharks and enabling operators to feed, contain and harvest the salmon.

The placement and location of marine farms are considered according to the potential impact on the local community and recreational activities, as well as proximity to shore bases and storage facilities.

Salmon Planning and Regulation

Tasmania’s salmon industry has grown to become the single biggest primary sector in the state, which requires robust planning and regulation for sustainable long-term development. 

Learn more about salmon planning and regulation.  

Salmon Hatcheries

​Freshwater salmon hatcheries are land-based aquaculture facilities that breed, hatch and rear juvenile salmonids, which are then transferred to marine fish farms for on-growing. 

Learn more about salmon hatcheries​​.​

​Salmon Portal

The Tasmanian Salmon Farming Data Portal (Salmon Portal) is a data resource that promotes transparency and contains information on production, environmental issues, fish health and operational compliance across Tasmanian aquaculture industry.

Developed by the Aquaculture Branch, it also includes general information about the salmon industry and biosecurity, industry operation, research and the environment. 

The Tasmanian Salmon Industry Plan 2023 outlines a priority action of reviewing the Salmon Portal to increase transparency, by expanding available information.

Salmon FAQs

Is Tasmanian salmon farming regulated?

The Tasmanian salmon industry is highly regulated, with a variety of resource management legislation applying across the spectrum of activities that take place in Tasmania.  Key legislation includes:

  • Marine Farming Planning Act 1995

  • Living Marine Resources Management Act 1995

  • Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1995

  • Inland Fisheries Act 1995

  • Biosecurity Act 2019.

Learn more about salmon regulation​. 

How are environmental impacts managed in salmon farming?
Environmental regulation of the Tasmanian salmon industry is an important part of protecting and enhancing Tasmania's environment, and is becoming more rigorous as the industry continues to grow.​

The Environment Protection Authority is responsible for the environmental regulation of marine and land-based finfish farms in Tasmania. This includes issuing environmental licences, assessing compliance, reviewing monitoring data and reports, and instructing the management of environmental issues within salmon farming operations. ​Learn more about salmon farming and the environment.

How is salmon health managed?
Biosecurity Tasmania is responsible for the development and implementation of policy on issues relating to animal health, biosecurity and welfare in Tasmania, including salmon. This includes surveillance and regulatory activities, risk analysis and planning, provision of support and advice, and biosecurity awareness, communication and engagement programs. Learn more about Biosecurity Tasmania

The Department has developed new Aquaculture Standards, which includes the Salmonid Industry Biosecurity Program that aims to improve the overall biosecurity of salmonid production in Tasmania. Learn more about the Salmonid Industry Biosecurity Program

How are antibiotics for salmon farming regulated?

Under state legislation, the Tasmanian salmon industry must only use antibiotics in line with the Department’s Code of Practice for the Supply and Use of Veterinary Chemical Products under the Primary Produce Safety Act 2011. The industry is proactive in its approach to preventative biosecurity and fish health practices, and uses antibiotics as a last resort for bacterial disease control and fish welfare. Antibiotics can only be prescribed by veterinarians.

​Antibiotic use has declined in recent years as the development of vaccines has helped to reduce the need to administer antibiotics. A 2007 Food Standards Australia New Zealand risk assessment on the consumption of recreationally caught wild wish and farmed Tasmanian salmon following treatment with Oxytetracycline concluded that it does not raise health concerns for any Australian population groups. 

The national food safety standard states that a seafood business must take all reasonable measures to ensure inputs do not adversely affect the safety or suitability of the seafood. Learn more about food safety

Does the salmon farming industry create jobs?
The salmon sector in Tasmania directly employs approximately 2,000 staff and supports more than 3,000 related jobs. Many are located in rural areas of Tasmania and, as such, are important for workforce and community development in those areas. Current statistics on direct industry employment are reported on the Salmo​n Portal​.

Where can I learn more about the salmon industry in Tasmania? 

Some useful resources relating to salmon aquaculture in Tasmania include:

  • Salmon Portal – a data resource containing information on production, environmental issues, fish health and operational compliance across Tasmania’s salmon industry.

  • Tasmanian Salmon Industry Plan 2023 – an enduring strategic framework to guide the Government’s long-term priorities for the salmon industry.

  • Salmon Interactions Team – an Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) group conducting research and projects that explore the interactions between salmon aquaculture, the environment and society.

  • Environment Protection Authority – the agency responsible for the environmental regulation of marine and land based finfish farms in Tasmania.