The art of spin doctoring…

“Spin doctor (noun) (informal):

a spokesperson employed to give a favourable interpretation of events to the media…”

And so we saw Tassal’s corporate engagement chief, Barbara McGregor, doing exactly that as she conducted a media tour over the salmon farm site in Okehampton Bay. What she neglected to spin were the detrimental effects the site will have on the area and on the environment and on professional and recreational fishing well into the future.

Thus one is reminded of this week’s Gruen on ABC TV 13th September when Todd Sampson said with great irony about marketing:  ‘It’s not hypocrisy, it’s advertising…’


Spin doctors try to tell us that there are no deformed or diseased fish in Tasmania and yet Tassal has the highest usage of antibiotics of all three companies..

Spin doctors tell us that the health benefits of eating salmon are spectacular and yet one can google more than a million results on why farmed salmon is spectacularly unhealthy. More than a million! If one googles the health benefits of eating farmed Atlantic salmon, one gets 299, 000 results. No doubt the spin doctors will be onto that soon.

Spin doctors tell us the salmon farm industry is making multi-million dollar efforts to control the dumping of seals in professional fishing grounds on the northwest coast of Tasmania and yet today, ABC 936 was unable to secure figures from Tassal or the government on this month’s dumping figures.

Spin doctors tell us that the Macquarie Harbour ‘filth and faeces fiasco’ won’t happen in Okehampton Bay. When it does (with worldwide events to use as evidence that it will) one can’t wait to see the spin on that one!

Spin doctors tell us there are already visible financial benefits for Triabunna but offers no concrete evidence. Is the supermarket now doing much better than before Tassal entered the district? The café? Real estate? It would appear one house has been sold and one block of land. Maybe that’s the success spin…

Spin doctors tell us families can return home. Good – but the spin on that from we the Tasmanian public is that it’s entirely thanks to an industry that operates in publicly-owned waters, pays very little return to the Tasmanian government, has micro-fines for misdemeanors and whose profits go to mainland investors. Excellent news. Good spin there.

Spin doctors tell us Tasmanian salmon farming is world’s best practice. There are thousands of salmon farms round the world. Have a look at the map! Despite the spin, Tasmania’s industry is not at all unique. And it’s so very easy to google the environmental disasters worldwide … a disaster group that Tassal joined with its well-farmed leases in Macquarie Harbour. Well-farmed? That’s what the spin doctors tell us.

Spin doctors tell us that the industry is booming and yet salmon sells for a mere $A14 per kg at the Sydney Fishmarket. Wild caught flathead sells for $A42 a kg. Is there a spin here? Perhaps it’s the one of trying to push farmed salmon through the market place when its public image is under such stress in the media.

Spin doctors have become silent over the Sustainable Salmon Chef’s Charter.  Interesting…

The latest spin is via children through the school curriculum. Maybe mining companies who want to frack should also be given the same chance to spin to the children. Or foreign investors who want to build skyscrapers.

One can go on about the glossy spin being cast over this industry, but like a badly fitted seal net, it’s too little too late. Opinions are cast in concrete nationwide. And the best spin of all is that the State Liberal and Labour politicians are being spun in centrifugal circles by Tassal and appear not to have a clue about how angry and how informed the population is.

But then spin is ‘…not hypocrisy, it’s advertising…’

See you at Okefloat on Sunday.