41° South Tasmania: Baby Salmon – Big Environmental Tick
Ziggy Pyka’s family-run salmon farm and ginseng nursery is a unique tourist attraction located in the UNESCO approved Tasmanian World Heritage Area.
It’s arguably the most environmentally friendly salmon farm in the country, quietly going about its business in North West Tasmania. Created by German-born Ziggy Pyka, organic waste from the fish is reticulated through native wetlands, even receiving a nod from resident platypus. It is testament to the pristine condition of the farm’s water.
An inland salmon and ginseng farm isn’t your average offering. Located about 15 minutes’ drive from Deloraine, 41° South Tasmania is an ingenious labour of love. Ziggy and wife Angelika moved to Tasmania, drawn by the soil and climate. Although it was ginseng, with its medicinal and culinary properties that lured the Pykas down south, it would be the salmon venture that became the farm’s driving force.
“The land was infested with willow and gorse when we acquired it in 1998,” explains Ziggy. “We set about building the ponds and wetlands. Although ginseng was our original focus, it takes around eight years before anyone can harvest this slow-growing perennial. Today, it is a small aspect of our business, compared with the salmon operation.”
What sets this farm apart? Montana Falls is the source of the farm’s water. It flows through the farm carrying organic waste products from the salmon, and is reticulated from the ponds and filtered through Ziggy’s carefully designed wetlands. Acting as a natural bio-filter, all organic waste is removed and pristine water is delivered back into the Western Creek rivulet. This just happens to feed Montana Falls, the farm’s original water source.
“It’s beautiful here,” says Ziggy. “When I decided to create a fish farm, I had no idea where to start. I’m an electrician by trade. But we’ve done it. We employ five full time staff including my son and my daughter. Tasmania has been a fantastic place to raise our children. It’s safe, clean and beautiful. We now have three grandchildren and they’ve all grown up with good fish!”
As today’s consumers are more conscious than ever about the traceability of their food and farming practices, 41° South Tasmania has considerable appeal. The farm’s hot-smoked baby salmon is sought after nationwide, and the minimal environmental impact is unmatched.
Their 500 gram Atlantic salmon is the farm’s signature offering and a world first. “We are driven by what the market wants,” explains Ziggy.
“We went to many markets and shows and found our 500 gram offering was the optimum size people desired. Customers have also really come to enjoy the distinct flavour because our salmon is hot smoked over Tasmanian Blackwood shavings.”
Located in a World Heritage Area, the farm draws visitors for tastings, guided and self-guided tours, as well as lunches in the petite café. Being a family-run operation means Ziggy or a family member often conduct the tours across a farm where 20 fresh-water ponds hold up to 10 000 Tasmanian Atlantic salmon. With plentiful birdlife that changes with the seasons and dense native bushland, the farm is a magnet for school groups, visitors and inquisitive science minds.
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