We (Peter and Frances Bender) established Huon Aquaculture in 1986 in Hideaway Bay. Starting with one pen, a dinghy and one employee feeding fish by hand, we have nurtured it to become a highly ethical, sustainable and innovative business. Being responsible and caring members of our community is important to us because we are part of that community as well. We have raised our family in the Huon and continue to live and work there. “We don’t want to be the biggest, we simply want to be the best.”
We and our team at Huon continuously works to improve product quality while reducing our environmental footprint. For example, we have the lowest stocking density pens in the world (maximum of 8-12 kgs per cubic metre or 1% fish to 99% water in any given pen). This not only reduces the sediment on ocean floor under the pens, but gives our salmon plenty of room to move and behave naturally. Salmon have complex social structures and by keeping a population of fish together throughout their life, they’re allowed to build and maintain cohesive communities. When salmon are relaxed and allowed to behave normally in a clean, healthy environment, they feed better, they grow quicker and result in higher quality at harvest time.
Other innovative practices include fallowing pens and high tech feeding tracking systems which contribute to a more environmentally-sustainable operation. Antibiotics are only used as a last resort which is why we practice a holistic approach to farming. Integral to our approach is good site management, low stocking densities, the development and use of vaccines, feeding a high-quality diet, and keeping our fish as calm and low stress as possible. It has been four years since we have used antibiotics at sea, which was to treat a single pen of fish. Antibiotics are never used at our closed-loop system hatcheries, as these rely on good bacteria within the waste treatment system to treat the water. And as anyone who has taken antibiotics will know, their use kills both the good and the bad bacteria.
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