Flaw 7: Denial
Image Community Protest copyright L. Gershwin
Eye-Watering Water Waste
One of the most irksome things in all of this is not only that Tasmania’s salmon industry is polluting the coastlines and rivers, but that they’re getting the privilege of doing so nearly for free. We, the taxpayers, are footing the bill for this, so that the companies’ shareholders can pocket the dividends. Companies should make money — of course! — but where does one draw the line at profitable companies getting taxpayer-funded handouts. It just isn’t right.
The Nature of the Endgame
Tasmania’s salmon farming industry is today at a cross-roads. If it continues disregarding the health of the environment, fish will become progressively more difficult and more expensive to grow. It is suffering from its own success, and ignoring this will only make it worse. And disregarding the environment is an immense error of judgment for an industry selling freshness and wholesomeness. A sustainable environment goes hand in hand with sustainable consumer demand.
The Tasmanian salmon farming industry's myopic preoccupation with immediate profits ignores two critical threats to its own survival: the limitations of nature and the erosion of public confidence. It is squandering both. Nature and the community are both saying "Enough".
The industry is seemingly wilfully ignoring the crucial fact that a reciprocal and respectful relationship must be maintained between any industry and the ecosystem whose resources it seeks to exploit, and the public who are nature's trustees. It cannot be stressed firmly enough that without a healthy environment and a robust social license, there is nothing.
Any company with the arrogance to assume that it can operate with impunity will face its own downfall.
Social License to Operate
Limitations of Nature
There are many threats to the continued viability of the salmon farming industry. Supply of feed. Demand for product. Social license to operate. Investor confidence. Etc etc. But far and above, the biggest threat is of the industry's own making, and is poised to become much MUCH worse.
Despite all the state and federal regulations, there is one that is arguably the supreme regulator: Nature. If we destroy with one hand while begging a pardon with the other, Nature just gives us the middle finger. Nature’s regulatory system cannot be played. Nature is a cruel regulator: when you are out of second chances, you are finished. The inevitability of this truth cannot be overstated.