We sold our investment in Tassal in February 2017. We did this because of our concerns about the sustainability of farmed salmon feed supply.
While the wild fish component of salmon feed (typically anchovies) has reduced substantially with the introduction of plant and other feed components, this trend has slowed and in some cases reversed. The sustainability of wild anchovy fisheries is a concern with growing demand for fishmeal feed and fish oil, demand which is also diverting anchovies from their use as a direct source of protein.
Our view on aquaculture has been that it has the potential to reduce over-fishing and move towards a sustainable seafood production by substituting feedstock with plant based protein. Unfortunately, we believe Tassal and the salmon farming sector is not currently on track to achieve this goal.
We have also taken into account the concerns raised in recent public scrutiny of salmon farming in Macquarie Harbour and other Tasmanian aquaculture sites. We will continue to monitor these issues, including as they are adjudicated in the current legal proceedings against the Tasmanian Environment Protection Agency (EPA). We will also look for opportunities for Australian Ethical to support action to safeguard that Aquaculture Stewardship Council standards promote better aquaculture practices, both through appropriate standard setting and appropriate processes for external audit of compliance with the standards.