Tassal cleared of "improperly influenced a witness"

Tassal chief executive Mark Ryan
Tassal chief executive Mark Ryan

A Senate committee charged with investigating whether Tassal "improperly influenced a witness" during an inquiry has found there is no evidence to suggest it did.

The salmon company was investigated by the Senate Privileges Committee to see whether it improperly influenced a witness during an inquiry on Tasmania’s fin-fish industry.

Dover Bay Mussels owner Warwick Hastwell made a written submission which stated contamination from fish pens had destroyed mussels within his lease.

Mr Hastwell later pulled out of a scheduled appearance at a hearing while he was negotiating a sale of the leases to Tassal.

Senate Privileges Committee in a report said it was “unable to conclude with any certainty” that Tassal sought to influence Mr Hastwell on whether to present evidence at a hearing.

But the committee expressed concern over the discussions by email between the two parties about the sale negotiation and the hearing appearance.

"Decisions about whether to give evidence and/or what evidence a witness might give should not be used as currency in commercial negotiations,” the committee said.