Seals

Like all farming operations we must operate in harmony with the environment and the other animals that call it home. We work to keep both our fish and local wildlife safe through proactive wildlife interaction management.

Huon has developed the new industry standard in barrier protection and wildlife safety, our Fortress Pens. The $90 million dollar investment has resulted in a significant reduction in wildlife interactions with our farms.

However, there are still occasions where we need to work in collaboration with the relevant government department to manage persistent or aggressive seals that pose a threat to the safety of our employees and our fish. Specifically, Huon may use seal relocation and as a very last resort euthanisation of seals. These measures are a last resort and Huon continues to decrease their use by using technology (such as the fortress pens) and strategies to prevent learned behaviour.

We know that how we manage our seal interactions is of interest to many in the community so we provide details of seal sightings, number of seals removed from pens and any seal death as a result of interaction with our farms.

In addition, the information below provides further details on why we use these strategies and how we have applied them.

Relocation

Seals are only trapped occasionally as a measure to disrupt behaviour where a seal or seals have entered a pen or are constantly trying to breach the defence system of the pen. By trapping and relocating the seal it interferes with the seals learning process and prevents new behaviour being taught to other seals in the area. This then gives the farm staff some time to remedy and detected design weaknesses before the behaviour becomes entrenched. No relocation events have occurred since August 2016 and we do not anticipate any further seal relocation events moving forward.

Relocation event Number of seals relocated
July 2015 3
August 2015 1
September 2015 4
October 2015 2
November 2015 2
December 2015 0
January 2016 0
February 2016 0
March 2016 0
April 2016 1
May 2016 0
June 2016 5
July 2016 6
August 2016 14


Euthanisation

Euthanasia of a seal would only be requested by Huon as an absolute last resort in the event worker safety was at significant risk. Huon has euthanised a total of 8 seals since 2010 but has not euthanised any seals since August 2013, this information has been reported on the Sustainability Dashboard. 

Accidental death

Accidental deaths can be anything from a seal getting trapped in one of our nets whilst trying to breach a pen or simply a seal that is dying within our lease space. Every effort is undertaken to avoid this from occurring and we have seen a significant reduction in the number of seal interactions with our farms since the rollout of our new wildlife safe Fortress Pens.

Unfortunately, there have been five deceased seals in 2016 to date at Huon leases and there were three deceased seals in 2015. There have been two additional seal deaths on Huon leases in 2016 that were not attributable farm infrastructure or activity (one found floating, the other confirmed as having a tumour).

Year Accidental Death Euthanised
2012 12 2
2013 13 1
2014 8 0
2015 3 0
2016 5 0

Accidental deaths for 2016

Month Lease location
April 2016 East of Redcliffs
April 2016 East of Redcliffs
April 2016 Hideaway Bay
April 2016 Hideaway Bay
October 2016 Garden Island

 

Current seal deaths on our leases is reported on our Sustainability Dashboard.