> Skip to content
  • Published: 26 April 2021
  • ISBN: 9781761044373
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $24.99

Toxic

The Rotting Underbelly of the Tasmanian Salmon Industry




Is Tasmanian salmon one big lie?

In a triumph of marketing, the Tasmanian salmon industry has for decades succeeded in presenting itself as world’s best practice and its product as healthy and clean, grown in environmentally pristine conditions. What could be more appealing than the idea of Atlantic salmon sustainably harvested in some of the world’s purest waters?

But what are we eating when we eat Tasmanian salmon?

Richard Flanagan’s exposé of the salmon farming industry in Tasmania is chilling. In the way that Rachel Carson took on the pesticide industry in her ground-breaking book Silent Spring, Flanagan tears open an industry that is as secretive as its practices are destructive and its product disturbing.

From the burning forests of the Amazon to the petrochemicals you aren’t told about to the endangered species being pushed to extinction you don’t know about; from synthetically pink-dyed flesh to seal bombs . . . If you care about what you eat, if you care about the environment, this is a book you need to read.

Toxic is set to become a landmark book of the twenty-first century.

  • Published: 26 April 2021
  • ISBN: 9781761044373
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $24.99

About the author

Richard Flanagan

Richard Flanagan's novels have received numerous honours and are published in forty-two countries. He won the Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North and the Commonwealth Prize for Gould’s Book of Fish. A rapid on the Franklin River is named after him.

Also by Richard Flanagan

See all

Praise for Toxic

Toxic vividly and viscerally depicts ... the reality of the Tasmanian salmon industry, which sells its product as the epitome of clean and green ... It is testament to the reverence with which Tasmanians regard the island’s most celebrated author that so many people with knowledge of what has gone on behind closed doors and inside the underwater feed lots have been prepared to go on the public record. Toxic connects jaw-dropping expert testimony with revelations uncovered by a few dedicated journalists and a ground-breaking Legislative Council inquiry, with little-known scholarly papers and international reports, to provide a devastating critique of not just a rogue industry but the system that facilitates it ... When truth is spoken in a small community, it is never without cost. The courage of those who have gone on the record (not forgetting the author himself) ensures that, despite the tragedy it documents, Toxic is not a depressing book to read. Flanagan dedicates his book to ‘all the brave women’ who helped him write it, and they are a remarkable collective ... In its beginning and at its end, Toxic is a meditation on home. From his Bruny Island shack, source of family joy and wondrous words, Flanagan has personally witnessed the loss of species after species since the feedlots arrived. As with his recent novel, The Living Sea of Waking Dreams (2020), he challenges us to open our eyes and face the truth of diminishment – not just of the natural world but of ourselves.

James Boyce, Australian Book Review

Discover more

Video
Toxic by Richard Flanagan

Is Tasmanian salmon one big lie? In a triumph of marketing, the Tasmanian salmon industry has for decades succeeded in presenting itself as world’s best practice and its product as healthy and clean, grown in environmentally pristine conditions. What could be more appealing than the idea of Atlantic salmon sustainably harvested in some of the world’s purest waters? But what are we eating when we eat Tasmanian salmon? Richard Flanagan’s exposé of the salmon farming industry in Tasmania is chilling. In the way that Rachel Carson took on the pesticide industry in her ground-breaking book Silent Spring, Flanagan tears open an industry that is as secretive as its practices are destructive and its product disturbing. From the burning forests of the Amazon to the petrochemicals you aren’t told about to the endangered species being pushed to extinction you don’t know about; from synthetically pink-dyed flesh to seal bombs . . . If you care about what you eat, if you care about the environment, this is a book you need to read. Toxic is set to become a landmark book of the twenty-first century.

Related titles