Employee News

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JBS to Huon Staff Flyer

Update on sale to JBS

Farewell from Peter and Frances (3 Nov 2021)

Dear Staff, well, what a ride it’s been!  Today it became official that we have sold our shares in Huon to JBS.  This was a monumental decision for us both and one that while we are happy to have done so it does come with more than a tinge of sadness.

Many of our long term staff, have been on this journey with us, and our kids, now for over 35 years; from the very inception of not just Huon but the salmon industry in Tasmania.  Never in our wildest dreams did we envisage that we would end up creating a company such that Huon has become.  The story of Huon, and indeed all of you, is one of huge importance to Tasmania – we have all shown that with courage, ingenuity, hard work, stubbornness, skill and determination an industry that didn’t exist could become the largest agri-industry in this state, the largest fishery by value in the nation and Huon, one of the largest and most important Australian agri-companies.

People have often asked us if we ever considered that this would occur and our answer was a very decisive NO!  We began with no knowledge, no money, no anything really other than an idea and a “let’s have a crack” attitude.

Now, Huon is acknowledged as a world leader in this industry; demonstrated by a company such as JBS seeking to dip their toes into aquaculture and choosing Huon as their global test case.  Just consider for a moment that the largest protein supplier in the world of beef, lamb, chicken and pork sought out our company to “teach” them how to grow fish. JBS is very aware, for all sorts of reasons, that the global need for protein for a growing population will be affected by climate change and political instability in some countries so terrestrial farming cannot continue to grow at the rate is has previously, therefore they are looking to the sea as the future.  All of us should wear this purchase with a badge of pride about what, together, we have all created!

There are so many memories of happy and sad times, of stressful and dangerous incidents, of crabby bankers, of fun and practical jokes, of conferences and travel and too many drinks, of visitors and customers, storms, broken gear, no money and sometimes tears but through often just sheer determination we have held it together and succeeded. No one ever suspected that the entire world would be closed and brought to its knees by a global pandemic but once again we battled our way through.  It was during this time that both of us considered where we were in our life journey and what we wanted and needed to do for our future and that of our family.  The arrival of our beautiful grandchildren reinforced to us that time was precious and something you could not get back.  We could keep on leading and working at Huon and battling on but was that really right for us, our kids and grandkids at this stage of our life and just as importantly was this really right and proper for our company which meant all of you?

It just seemed the right time to make the break.  We could retire and spend our last few decades (we hope) living a quieter life with less stress. I could play with my bikes and keep out of Frances’s way. She could garden and babysit and be less stressed and the company, if we could find the right partner, could power on and continue to show everyone how good Huon really is; all of it; the staff and their skills, the fish, the innovation and the respected brand. We felt the huge weight of responsibility to all of you in securing your futures as well as ensuring the story of Huon went from strength to strength. Therefore, we decided that handing the baton on while we had the energy, in an orderly manner, was the right thing to do.

Many times over the years we have sat around a meeting table and later both Frances and I have talked about our great feelings of surprise and pride that we had managed to bring together such a team of talented and passionate staff.  We couldn’t believe that we were and still are the least qualified people in Huon.  We often laughed that some of you seriously needed to get a life as you were as mad about fish and improving practices and solving problems as we were in as we tried to continually improve, lead the way and succeed.

To see the development and implementation of world leading technologies and equipment, to grow what are recognised as the best quality salmon in the world, to foster and support training and education and research that has been the hallmark of the success of this industry is something that not many can ever say that they have had direct input into.

To see entire generations of families be employed, educated, build or buy their first home and then see the next generation do the same is something not many can claim to have had the privilege of fostering.  To know many of those kids, get to see them in person or share in the many photos over the years of the Huon babies and then see them grow and achieve is a bonus that never shows up on any balance sheet.

Just like some of you are unsure of what the future brings it is the same for us.  Frances commented the other morning of her concern of how I was going to cope with not seeing the daily mort’s, DO, harvest weights and numbers, etc etc as I have for decades (sometimes reading the data in the middle of the night).  My answer is that I’m not sure.

Frances also will never truly be able to shut off from the noisy detractors of our industry as she feels such pride and ownership of what everyone has achieved and how much you all care about what you do, how you do it and where you live.

Living like this for over 3 decades has been like living on a roller coast.  You get addicted to the adrenaline high but the lows are pretty horrible.  So both of us living a calmer, quieter life away from the public glare will take some time for us to settle into.  With another grandchild on the way we know that this time is precious and goes so quickly so that’s where we need to be.

We know that Huon will continue on albeit somethings will be different but remember the new owners want to prove just what Huon can do on a bigger stage than any of us could have ever envisaged.  To do that they need all of you, your knowledge, your skills and your passion.

In closing both Frances and I hope you realise that you are part of a world leading industry.  You are undertaking, inventing, researching and producing a product that is world-class, safe, sustainable and you are doing that as part of very small group globally.

Not many people can do what you do. Not many people understand what you do and how well you do it. But that is problem not yours!  You know the care, the pride, the effort that goes into every task.  You know the loyalty and trust that you share with your team members to undertake that job sometimes in dangerous situations.  You represent all that is best about Huon and you will continue to do just that.

We shall be watching from the sidelines and we hope that we see many of you around the community.  Always make yourself known to us and always stand proud for what you do and who you represent.  And always take care of yourselves and your team members.  We want you to enjoy your work, your life and your families and importantly, always go home, safely, to them.

Thank you all – every one of you across every single area of the business.

Good luck, good health and here’s to Huon continuing to be known as “The Worlds Most Loved Salmon”.

Peter and Frances


COVID-19 Update

Southern Tasmania will be in lockdown from 6pm today Friday 15 October for three days.

Following this afternoon’s announcement by Premier Peter Gutwein, we can confirm that Southern Tasmania will be going into a 3-day lockdown commencing on Friday 15th October 2021 at 6 pm and will conclude at 6 pm on Monday 18th October 2021.

The Local Government (Council) areas subject to the lockdown include:

  • Brighton Council
  • Central Highlands
  • Southern Midlands Council
  • Derwent Valley Council
  • Glenorchy Council
  • Sorell Council
  • Hobart Council
  • Huon Valley Council
  • Kingborough Council
  • Tasman Council
  • Clarence Council

If you don’t live in these Local Government (Council) areas this lockdown doesn’t apply to you.

We do however encourage you to continue to monitor the Coronavirus Tas webpage – https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/ for any updates.

Permitted Business

Huon is a permitted business as outlined by the Tasmanian Government and is authorised to continue to operate as per the following category:

  • Farming activities and other operations relating to agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, irrigation, permaculture, apiculture, grains, fibre production, dairy, flower industry, commercial fishing, aquaculture

There are however several restrictions that we must adhere to, which include:

  • Following our COVID-19 Safety plans
  • Complying with density requirements of 1 person per 4 square metres for any office spaces
  • Ensuring physical distancing of 1.5m within worksites where possible
  • Continue to follow personal hygiene practices

What does this mean to you?

Any affected employees in essential operational positions such as Marine Operations, Fresh Water, and the Control room are required to continue to attend work as per normal rosters.

As per the Government directive, Office-based employees are being requested to work from home where possible on Monday. If this is not possible, you can attend the office but must comply with the controls listed below.

Keeping you safe

In all Huon sites we have COVID-19 Safety plans. These plans outline how we can safely work adhering to the safety management plans in place. If you have any questions about these plans, please speak with your Manager or your WHS Team member.

Following is a reminder of the controls in place to keep you safe at work.

If you have any symptoms, please make contact with the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 671 738 to arrange for a test.

Face Masks

It is a requirement that you wear a face mask when leaving your home. For employees working on the weekend and Monday facemasks will be available and distributed across sites. Alternatively, you can bring along your own masks. For further information on these restrictions please refer to https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/families-community/lockdown-plan. Please contact the WHS Team for further information.

Essential Worker Letters

An essential worker email will be sent to ALL southern employees which you can provide to authorities if requested when travelling to/from work.

WHS Team Contacts

  • Stuart Lovell                0419 318 746
  • Dominic McLaren        0447 679 732
  • Dominique Koppen     0477 669 945
  • Kylie Clark                   0429 583 610

Links for further information

For further information please refer to:

We all need to continue to be vigilant in ensuring we keep ourselves and our family safe over this time.


Tassie Salmon Campaign:

The following information has been developed for Huon Aquaculture employees. With the ongoing attention on the company and the industry from THAT book, we’ve established this site as an information source for our employees. We will include links to communication materials and resources (ie facts and myth-busters!) on the issues currently receiving community attention.

If you have additional concerns or require answers to any issue not covered by these materials, please contact the Communications Team on communications@huonaqua.com.au or via 0418 313 414

Message to staff:

Peter Bender update to Employee Shareholders (28/09/2021) > 

Peter Bender update to staff regarding full year results to 30 June 2021 (26/08/2021) > 

Peter Bender update to staff regarding the status of acquisition by JBS (23/08/2021) > 

JBS Australia’s acquisition of Huon Aquaculture fact sheet (from JBS, 23/08/2021) > 

Peter Bender message to staff regarding JBS Australia acquisition of Huon Aquaculture (06/08/2021) > 

Frances Bender message to staff regarding social media video (16/07/2021) > 


The following documents can be downloaded and shared with your family, friends and community:

Science backs salmon sustainability written by Colin Buxton, published by the Mercury on 13/07/2021 > 

Celebrities lack credibility to commentate written by Eric Abetz, published by the Examiner on 13/07/2021 > 

A ‘toxic’ division that could last for generations written by Brian Wrightman, published by the Examiner 4/7/2021 >

Steve Percival’s opinion piece as published by the Mercury on 9/6/2021 > 

Steve Percival’s letter to the editor as published by the Mercury on 15/6/2021 > 



TSGA newspaper adverts. These adverts are appearing in The Mercury, Examiner and Advocate on Saturdays:

Over the coming weeks and months, the Communications and Marketing teams will be rolling out information across social media platforms. Visit the Huon Aquaculture Facebook page or the Huon Salmon Facebook page for more information and facts about Huon’s operations.

A friendly reminder that when engaging on any social media platform that your actions must align with Huon’s Social Media Policy, Code of Conduct and our Online Community Guidelines. Copies of these documents can be found on the Huon intranet or by contacting the HR team.

If you are approached by members of the public around these issues or about your employment in the industry, be polite, professional and level-headed. It would be helpful for the Communications team to be aware of this interaction so please report it to your line manager.

Helpful videos: