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Seals At Risk

Rosalie Woodruff MP

Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Tags: Seals, Extinction, Tassal, Fish Farms, Animal Welfare

Ms Woodruff to move—That the House:—

(1) Understands that the Australian fur seal is the world’s fourth rarest seal species, having been hunted to the brink of extinction last century, and is now a wholly protected animal.

(2) Notes with concern the news that the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment is considering a request from Tassal to detain a number of seals in pens for days at a time prior to relocating them far away from the salmon lease.

(3) Understands this request has arisen from a dramatic increase in the number of seals entering Tassal’s pens since the start of June 2016, and is not driven for humanitarian reasons but purely to save the company money.

(4) Recognises that detaining seals raises significant animal welfare issues, with experts noting that holding numbers of wild, stressed and mostly male fur seals confined together for days is untested and could lead to fights and injuries.

(5) Notes recent reports that three Australian fur seals were killed during attempts to relocate them from salmon farming leases, with those seals being shot by tranquiliser guns and subsequently choking to death on their own vomit.

(6) Acknowledges that preventing seals from entering pens in the first place through animal safe pen designs is the safest way to protect both the seals, the salmon, and the ethical integrity of the company in the eyes of the consumer.

(7) Calls on the Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Hon. Jeremy Rockliff MP to reject this seal detention proposal, and to instead review the industry protocols for mitigating seal interactions with aquaculture staff and infrastructure with the first priority being to protect these majestic animals.

(8) Calls on the Government to muster the courage to hold the salmon farming industry to account, and carefully and independently assess the impact of the industry’s
expansion on marine animals.