Sustainability in its broadest terms is having the ability to operate at a certain level on an ongoing basis. It however, must not come at the cost of depleting the natural resources on which the operation, in Huon’s case, farming, relies.
It is good practice to be a sustainable company. Aquaculture relies on the health of the water and waterways—healthy waterways means healthy stock and in turn, a healthy business.
Huon’s operations are closely monitored to ensure that nutrient outputs are within acceptable mandated limits. In times where Huon has felt that the balance between waterway health and fish growth was off kilter, we have taken action. The case and management with Macquarie Harbour is a prime example.
It has always been Huon’s position that engagement and disclosure is the only way to build and develop a sustainable business.
Huon conducts regular sea floor monitoring under its pens and at 35m compliance points around pens in accordance with EPA requirements. All footage is provided to the EPA and Huon has also chosen to make footage publicly available – see footage from Storm Bay in March 2022 – beneath pen 1, beneath pen 2 and at the 35m compliance point.
At Huon we are always finding more ways to be transparent in our dealings. This is why we developed and rolled out our online interactive Sustainability Dashboard in 2014. At the time of its launch, the Dashboard was the first of its kind across the worldwide agribusiness industry.
The information housed on the Dashboard was, and still is, informed both through community engagement, and in response to frequently asked questions.
The Dashboard has been through several iterations with each new version building upon the previous. For example, the 2016 Senate Inquiry demonstrated that people wanted more information around seabed health. This led to a series of videos being uploaded the following year, showing each farming region in pre, full stocking and fallow.
Over time, Huon has also used the Dashboard to publish information relevant to key stakeholders including auditors for various certifications.
Today, data presented on the Dashboard includes wildlife interactions, temperature and dissolved oxygen data, company performance statistics, employee figures, and research spend.
In recognition of our commitment to real-time data reporting, our Dashboard recently took out the inaugural Contribution to Sustainable Development or Protection of the Environment award at the 2019 TasICT awards.
Recycled pipe and a salmon skin pet treat
At Huon, we have a whole-of-fish philosophy, which is why we have a role responsible for finding uses for our by-products. By-product innovation has many benefits to Huon, most notably reducing our wastage and increasing our sustainability. In addition, it supports other businesses through providing them with a cheap and sustainable resource to harness.
By-products at Huon are essentially the leftover materials from first-grade products, as well as non-organic materials that are no longer usable. These include (but are not limited to) salmon skins, salmon heads and frames, off cuts and hatchery water and sludge (left over post-water filtration), old ropes and pipes.
Before the addition of this role, much of Huon’s fish waste was destined to be landfill. As any gardener knows, food waste should be composted so that it can breakdown and be available to the organisms in the soil—a process that doesn’t happen easily in landfill.
Today, these by-products are harnessed to create pet food, pet treats, compost, to irrigate on farmland and in the case of ropes and pipes, donated to employees, community groups and local schools.