To manage and minimise our interactions with wildlife, Huon has Wildlife Officers. The key functions of this team include minimising and preventing wildlife interactions, undertaking safe retrieval and release of wildlife if entry into a pen does occur, and investigating the cause of pen entries.
The role requires good problem solving skills and the ability to think outside the box.
They also organise and assist with repairs to infrastructure, or help develop systems to prevent seals from re-entering or exploiting the repairs. Seals learn behaviours quickly, so sometimes the wildlife team need to think creatively to develop novel ways of reducing interactions.
While not as smart as seals, birds are naturally attracted to fish farms as a place to perch and rest, or through the possibility of a free meal. To manage this, the Wildlife team invented bird escape hatches that allow birds a safe way out of the pens.
In terms of training, the team undertakes a series of courses including Marine Mammal Observer Program, training through DPIPWE for Seal Trapping, Seal Deterrent and Seal Sedation, also essential is a Coxswains and Driver’s License, the ability to obtain a firearms license (for the purpose of discharging seal deterrents) and the ability to build strong relationships.
Dolphins also interact with our farming infrastructure and sometimes get entangled. If a dolphin mortality is determined by State Government as attributable to our farming operations, we publicly record details on our Sustainability Dashboard.