Four Corners questions WWF's credibility

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THE World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has come under fire after an ABC Four Corners report exposed WWF charges a large fee to use its Panda conservation logo as an endorsement of responsible practise and sustainability.

It was revealed in secret documents leaked to the ABC that Tassal, Tasmania's largest salmon producer, will pay the WWF about $250,000 each year over the next three years to use the WWF Panda logo and another $250,000 to use the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) label, which Tassal's competitors believe gives it a huge commercial advantage.

ABC's Caro Meldrum-Hanna questioned how consumers can have confidence in Tassal's product if the company paid for the WWF endorsement.

WWF Australia CEO Dermot O'Gorman denied this payment compromised trust and maintained the WWF is the benchmark of conservation research.

"They have contributed to our conservation work, if you're trying to imply that that in some way compromises the credibility of that brand I'd have to beg to disagree," O'Gorman said.

"We maintain the highest scientific standards in terms of how we go into partnership with companies,” he said.

In Monday night's Four Corners, the ABC also exposed various contentious issues with Tasmania's rapidly growing salmon aquaculture industry.

Among the issues were serious environmental concerns surrounding the increasing number of farming pens and the problem of fish faeces associated with the rapid growth in fish numbers.

Of the three big producers in Macquarie Harbour on Tasmania's West Coast, Tassal is the only one to deny that there are environmental concerns over the water quality and suitability of the Harbour.

Four Corners also revealed Tasmanian farmed salmon would have a white or grey flesh without a dye that is added to the feed to achieve the orange-coloured flesh that a wild Atlantic salmon has.

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