Tassal Company

Executive Summary

Tassal is a significant salmon farming firm in Australia which has been operational since the year 1986. In the recent years, the Tassal Company has expanded its operations which have resulted in some problems with the Tasmanian community. The report has, therefore, evaluated the meaning of sustainability and its relevance to business. The report has established that sustainability is more of a balancing act of the economic, social, and environmental aspects of a business. The report has also evaluated the relevance of sustainability to the aquaculture industry. This is because the industry cross cuts the economic, social, and environmental aspects of the business. Additionally, the report has also discussed some of the sustainability issues that Tassal is facing which are related to food labeling, Macquarie Harbor, Oakehampton Bay, and Kosher and Halal Certification. Following this, the report has concluded with giving some recommendations which will enable Tassal to embrace sustainability in the long run.

Table of Contents



6Sustainability in Aquaculture

8Sustainability Issues of Tassal Company

8Food Labeling

8Macquarie Harbor

9Oakehampton Bay

9Kosher and Halal Certification

10Recommendations towards Sustainability

10Involvement of Stakeholders and Community

11Sustainability Partners





Tassal started being functional in the year 1986 and from that time henceforth, it has turned out to be the biggest salmon farming company in Australia. Averagely, Tassal Company harvests about 12,000 tons of salmon every year which depicts the average size of this firm (Wallis, 2011). In the recent years, the Tassal Company has managed to expand its operations and has involved the Macquarie Harbor which is relatively large as well and is located adjacent to where the Tasmanian Heritage Wilderness World Heritage Area is found (Wallis, 2011). These expansions of the company have resulted in some controversy within the Tasmanian Community. Typically, Tassal provides annual sustainability reports since the year 2011. However, the CEO of the firm realized that there is an increasing controversy regarding the sustainability frameworks of Tassal from the Tasmanian community and Australia in general. There has also been an increasing concern about the environmental impact of their activities which is an element of sustainability as well (Wallis, 2011).

Sustainable accounting is also a critical element for Tassal Company because it offers an updated understanding of the ways in which accounting mechanisms are applied with the aim of reducing the negative effects on the societies as well as the environment that it operates in (Tilman et al., 2002). The application of sustainable accounting also oversees that a firm improves their contribution and involvement towards sustainable development which also results in positive business results for the individual company. Thus, the report will focus on evaluating the aspect of sustainability, its relevance to the aquaculture industry that Tassal is a part of, the particular sustainability issues that Tassal is facing, and recommendations on the same.


Basically, sustainability can be defined as the ability of maintaining a process or activity for a prolonged period or the continued development without having some significant environment deterioration as well as the natural resource depletion that human beings depend on (Pauly et al., 2002). Therefore, this means that sustainability is an act of achieving a particular balance. On the other hand, sustainability is relevant in accounting in that sustainable accounting entails linking the initiatives of sustainability to a firm’s strategy , providing measurement, and assessing the opportunities and risks to ensure that the aspect of sustainability is grounded into the everyday operations of a company (Tilman et al., 2002). Sustainability is also relevant to businesses in that it has its focus on the social and environment effect of the business actions. Thus, sustainable firms are positive for the environment and therefore, firms need to strive to be concerned with sustainability basically for the ethical reasons (Pauly et al., 2002).

It is evident that the social and consumer expectations are changing in that in the past, businesses would only focus on delivering quality products to the consumers and stay aloof of their competition. However, recently, consumers and the society in general have changed their expectations and has gone beyond just being offered quality products and services. As the society starts to understand the immense challenges that they are undergoing as a society, their expectations regarding the business roles have been altered significantly (Tilman et al., 2002). Additionally, it is apparent that the global business indeed has an imperative role to play regarding driving the necessary change towards sustainability and this is what the society expects the businesses to realize and do what is necessary to achieve it (Tilman et al., 2002). Thus, the leaders in business need to prioritize the aspect of sustainability so that they can gain the trust of the society.

There is a relationship which exists between accounting, accountability, and sustainability. Accounting is evidently related to the financial calculation as well as the management of records of the expenditure and income (McManus, 2013). Accountability, on the other hand, is more of a virtue of an individual which is related to them being responsible, faithful, time keeper, and perform the assigned tasks. Sustainability, as has been highlighted earlier is related to achieving a balance of the social, environmental, and economic aspects. Therefore, accounting is a way of ensuring that one is accountable for the financial aspect of a company and as it is clear, most business decisions are driven by proper financial records. When a firm is accountable through proper accounting for sustainability, then they will be in a position of integrating sustainability into their strategic decision-making which is then an act of being accountable for their operations.

Sustainability in Aquaculture

Aquaculture evidently holds a significant part when it comes to boosting fish production globally as well as meeting the increasing demand for the fishery products. According to the current survey that is carried out by the Food and Agricultural Organization Committee on Fisheries, aquaculture is becoming increasingly complementary and important when it comes to fish production intended for human nutrition as well as alleviating poverty (Whitmarsh et al., 2006). This is mostly the case in the rural areas. The aquaculture industry, just like other relevant practices of food production, has faced various issues regarding sustainable development and is evidently linked to sustainability. Most of the farmers in the aquaculture industry are striving to develop ways in which they can enhance their individual production practices which will, in turn, make them to become cost-effective and efficient as well (Whitmarsh et al., 2006).

The aquaculture industry is increasingly becoming aware and taking into consideration the environmental issues which are associated with the practices in the industry and which is an aspect of sustainability. This is not the case in Australia only but the entire world as well. following this awareness, most of the players in the industry are putting in efforts to improve the resource utilization, human capacity, as well as the management of the environment in the aquaculture industry (Pullin, Froese, and Pauly, 2007). Thus, various bodies across the world including FAO’s Committee for Fisheries continue to emphasize the improvement of inland fish production by utilization of integrated aquaculture farming systems (Pullin, Froese, and Pauly, 2007). This, therefore, shows that aquaculture is not only focused on producing more and more fish products but it is also concerned with undertaking these practices in a sustainable manner.

The emphasis and the promotion of practicing sustainable aquaculture entails the creation of enabling environments which are focused on overseeing that capacity building and the necessary human resource development is maintained in a sustainable manner. The Code of Conduct of FAO which is responsible for the fisheries activities entails the provisions and principles which are in support of sustainable development in the aquaculture industry globally (Pullin, Froese, and Pauly, 2007).

In the case of Australia, as its population continues to increase, the demand for the sustainable seafood sources increase as well. The demand of seafood in Australia has significantly increased at least over about the past three decades. Recently, the consumer demand in Australia for seafood has exceeded the relative supply from the domestic production and this continues to rise (Whitmarsh et al., 2006). Therefore, this is a clear indication that domestic aquaculture could possibly expand so that it can assist in meeting both the international and domestic demand for these seafood and fish products. Additionally, Australia has over time established a positive reputation of high quality and safe seafood which is typically produced through the utilization of environmentally-sustainable practices (Whitmarsh et al., 2006). Thus, this is a clear indication that for aquaculture cannot be separated from sustainability in that for a country or a company to be operational in the long run in the aquaculture industry, they have to employ these sustainable mechanisms and produce fish and fish products sustainably (Whitmarsh et al., 2006).

Sustainability Issues of Tassal Company

Tassal Company has evidently been faced with some sustainability issues and questions over time and this has been experienced on various aspects or parameters which are discussed below.

Food Labeling

According to the Food Standards Australia requirements regarding food labeling, it does not need a company to list the ingredients of the fish feed. However, there have been questions regarding the astaxanthin which is an additive in the fish feed that is produced by Tassal Company (Valenti et al., 2011). The safety of the additive has been questioned which has been termed as being unsustainable since it potentially undermines the health benefits of the consumers of the product. In its defense, Tassal Company stated that the additive was proved to be safe both for the humans and the fish as well but this is still something that will need to be verified.

Macquarie Harbor

Tassal Company has also been faced with issues regarding the level of sustainability of farming salmon along the Macquarie Harbor. This is because the fish health and the fishing densities and levels were questionable as well (Bilinelli, 2016). There was also a significant question regarding the mortality rates and mortality planning of the fish populace at the harbor (Bilinelli, 2016). Tassal Company responded by assuring that the average health of the fish was good and the stocking levels were within the stocking densities as per the license requirements.

Oakehampton Bay

Some years back, this bay was considered not to be suitable for fishing salmon because of various reasons. However, recently, contemporary farming of salmon was allowed after monitoring the bay. However, Tassal Company being a large company which produces salmon, it was questionable of how sustainable that would be given that only minimal salmon fishing practices was allowed at the bay (Valenti et al., 2011). The community then suspects that they would overfish there to meet the rising demand for salmon and of course for their business benefits hence seen to put the issue of sustainability at the back of their priorities.

Kosher and Halal Certification

It was suspected that the formulation of the fish feed of Tassal has porcine blood meal whose appropriateness into question especially regarding whether or not they were Kosher and Halal certified. Although Tassal has been transparent regarding their certification as well as production processes, there has been a question regarding whether or not the incorporation of the porcine blood meal is sustainable more so health wise (Bilinelli, 2016). Since sustainability is an aspect of balancing, they need to balance their economic, environmental, and societal concerns and without assuring the levels of health of their products to the society, then its sustainability is essentially questionable (Bilinelli, 2016). However, Tassal Company argues that it complies with all the requirements of the Kosher and Halal Certification even regarding the porcine blood meal being incorporated into the fish feed (Valenti et al., 2011). The question that the society the has is the level of sustainability that the certification requirements have regarding the safety of both the humans and the fish itself.

Following the various sustainability issues that have been highlighted above, Tassal has been on the verge of losing its sustainability certificate. There were also significant fears where there was the risk of losing local tourism because of the Macquarie Harbor which was in a poor condition health wise and yet Tassal was obtaining their fish products from there (Frankic and Hershner, 2003). Therefore, the opportunity for improvement which exists for them is to utilize various practices and methods of sustainable aquaculture. They also need to be committed to be transparent in most or all of their operations so that they could gain the trust of the society mostly regarding their motives regarding sustainability (Frankic and Hershner, 2003). Tassal has also taken utmost responsibility for the effects that their activities have had on the environment, marine environment and are willing to employ methods that are sustainable and environmental friendly.

Recommendations towards Sustainability

It is evident that the issue of sustainability is important to Tassal Company and that is why they have already taken some measures to ensure that they integrate sustainability measures into the practices. Therefore, for Tassal Company they can embrace sustainability through implementing some of the practices that have been highlighted below.

Involvement of Stakeholders and Community

The attention that Tassal has accorded the sustainability issues translates positively to the commitment and interest to its various stakeholders. There have been various sustainability concerns, both social and environmental which were brought to the attention of the firm. Although it addressed most of these concerns in the sustainability report back in the year 2011, it would be proper and beneficial for the to involve the community and stakeholders even more (McManus, 2013). Involving the community and more so in this case the Tasmanian Community which seems to have some clashing with the firm, will help them get the views regarding what the society perceives as being sustainable (McManus, 2013). They also need to consult the community on the strategies that they feel is appropriate and sustainable both for them and for the company. Doing this will evidently show the level of commitment that the Tassal has on embracing sustainability as well as involving the community consequently minimizing the backlash that they are facing from them. Additionally, Tassal could undertake to practice various engagement initiatives which will be aimed at evaluating the skills that are required for the business community of Tasmania (McManus, 2013).

Sustainability Partners

Tassal could also undertake to link with partners that are like-minded regarding embracing sustainability. This will be a clear depiction of a proactive approach regarding championing for implementing sustainable fishing methods and practices (Soto et al., 2008). For example, Tassal could form partnerships with the World Wide Fund (WWF) to ensure that the seafood that Tassal is using is being produced following the highest standards that are accepted globally (Soto et al., 2008). They could also form partnerships with other companies in the same aquaculture industry to formulate sustainable initiatives which will be necessary and beneficial for the company.


There have been questions regarding the sustainability of the requirements that are engraved in the various certifications in the aquaculture industry; for example the Kosher and Halal certification. Therefore, the standards and requirements of these certifications will need to entail stricter requirements in some of the categories like effluent release, chemical utilization, predator control, habitat protection, ingredients of feeds from the sustainable sources, as well as minimizing the escapes (Frankic and Hershner, 2003). Doing this will specifically force most of these companies, including Tassal to embrace sustainability if these certifications are enforced adequately (Frankic and Hershner, 2003).


Tassal is a large salmon company located in Australia which has been in operational since the year 1986. This company has been performing well over the years and it is only recently that they were faced with various sustainability issues that are threatening their performance. Sustainability is an aspect that is considered to be a balancing act where it intends to balance the economic, social, and environmental aspects of business performance. It is evident that Tassal finds sustainability important more so following the fact that they have been producing sustainability reports over the years. Sustainability is relevant to the aquaculture industry in that it will be essential for them to integrate environmental, societal, and economic concerns in their business operations. Some of the sustainability issues that Tassal Company is facing are related to food labeling, Macquarie Harbor, Oakehampton Bay, and Kosher and Halal Certification. Therefore, for Tassal to embrace sustainability, the appropriate recommendations have been made in the report.


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