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Salmon Industry - Use of Antibiotics

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 28 February 2023

Tags: Fish Farms, Marine Environment


Last year, 45 000 kilograms of antibiotic-laced salmon feed was tipped into Tassal's Shepherds lease. Shortly afterwards, flathead caught two kilometres away off Coningham Beach had above-threshold levels of antibiotics in them. Today, the CSIRO is warning us of a looming health crisis from drug-resistant super bugs caused by the wanton misuse of antibiotics in livestock.

Tasmania may be one of the last places in the world that still allows broad-scale dumping of antibiotics into public waterways. It is certainly light years from world's best practice.

Minister, whose interests are you working for: the community, or global salmon corporates? What are you going to do to stop our waters being poisoned?



Mr Speaker, I thank the member for her question. Questions relating to perceived health risks or environmental interactions of antibiotic residues are best directed to the ministers responsible for Health and Environment. However, I can -


Opposition members interjecting.

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Ms PALMER - From the Primary Industries perspective, I can certainly advise that antibiotics are not used routinely by the Tasmanian salmon industry. In rare circumstances where they are required, they are prescribed by veterinarians in accordance with legislation and mandated codes for inclusion of therapeutant in the feed.

In Tasmania, all vets are required to comply with the Poisons Act and the Code of Practice for the Supply and Use of Veterinary Chemical Products, which is legally applied under the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Order 2001 and related legislation.

Sanctions apply under the Veterinary Registration Board. If fish in marine farms are required to have treatment with antibiotics, farmers must advise the EPA director and the chief veterinary officer before the treatment is applied, and comply with any requirements for residue testing and reporting. Therapeutant use is also published on the NRE Tasmania Salmon Farming Data Portal.

I am also advised that the new salmon biosecurity program, which will be enforced through a regulation under the Biosecurity Act of 2019, has proposed that all antibiotic use in both fresh water and marine operations is to be reported.

I understand that the Tasmanian salmon industry is proactive in its approach to preventive biosecurity and fish health practices and only uses antibiotics as a last resort for bacterial disease control and fish welfare. It has invested heavily in fish vaccine development and vaccine use and other biosecurity measures.