Senate Inquiry into Greenwashing Focuses on Macquarie Harbour Farmed Salmon

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Today, a Senate inquiry in Canberra has heard damning evidence that the big supermarkets, Coles and Woolworths, are aware of serious issues with salmon farming in Macquarie Harbour regarding the very real risk of the extinction of the Maugean Skate, but are not doing anything to alert consumers.

Both Coles and Woolworths stood by their misleading packaging, claiming that all Tasmanian salmon is responsibly sourced.

They also stood by certification schemes, Best Aquaculture Practices and GLOBALG.A.P., that continue to endorse Macquarie Harbour salmon despite the Woolworths spokesperson acknowledging such schemes are “not a silver bullet.”

This comes at a time when both companies have been made fully aware that salmon farming, according to federal conservation advice, has a catastrophic impact on the Maugean Skate’s survival.

In December 2023, a formal greenwashing complaint to the ACCC was submitted regarding Coles and Woolworths’ misleading claims about Macquarie Harbour salmon.

“Both Woolworths and Coles are knowingly misleading consumers. If you walk into a supermarket right now, there is no way to tell if you are purchasing salmon that is causing the extinction of a species. It’s unthinkable that a supermarket would be so willing to hide the truth,” said Alistair Allan, Marine Campaigner at the Bob Brown Foundation.

“If a product that is the primary driver of an extinction emergency can get away with green claims on it, what hope does the average shopper have in detecting and avoiding greenwash? The supermarkets need to stop the greenwash and remove Macquarie Harbour salmon immediately,” said Kelly Roebuck, SeaChoice representative from Living Oceans Society.

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