• Sarah Jane Pell and moon, Strahan Aquaculture Divers, Tasmania 2009 Photo Tim Richards
  • Maquarie Harbour Aquaculture Pens, Tasmania Photo Sarah Jane Pell 2010
  • Sarah Jane Pell, Strahan Aquaculture Divers, Tasmania 2009 Photo Tim Richards
  • Sarah Jane Pell, commercial Diver, Maquarie Harbour Tasmania 2009. Photo Andrew Kelly
  • Sarah Jane Pell, Matt Tennant, Strahan Divers, 2010
  • Mort, Photo Strahan Divers, Tasmania 2010
  • Sarah Jane Pell, Strahan Aquaculture Divers, Tasmania 2008-10
  • Sarah Jane Pell, Aquaculture Diving Dawn, Strahan Divers, Tasmania 2010
  • Aquaculture nets
  • Aquaculture Lease, Macquarie Harbour, Tasmania 2009 Photo Andrew Kelly

Aquaculture Diving // Macquarie Harbour Tasmania

Daily repetitive bounce-diving servicing open ocean Salmon and Southern Ocean Trout farms in Prestine Tasmanian World Heritage Wilderness.

Aquaculture Diver

Strahan Divers 2008-10

Aquaculture, is the practice of farming aquatic organisms like salmon in fresh, brackish [mixture of fresh & salt water] or salt water. Aquaculture is considered an agricultural activity, despite the many differences between aquaculture and terrestrial [land based] agriculture. Aquaculture was first developed more than 2,000 years ago in countries such as China and Egypt, and commonly involved stocking wild-caught seed—for example, carp fingerlings (juvenile fish) captured from rivers—in ponds or other bodies of water for further growth. Whilst the industry has evolved to a high level of sophistication thanks to extensive research and development, one thing remains the same: Most aquacultural crops are developed to augment natural populations of fish and be a primary source of food destined for human consumption.
Source: The Huon Aquaculture Group [HUON] 2009

MORT Divers
Mort drivers are responsible for:
   recording observed data for assessing fish health
   mort removal and determining cause of mortality
   net inspection and repair
   checking net integrity (setting and mooring etc.)
Strahan Divers dive one at a time in each pen to "collect and inspect". They breath AIR via a surface-supplied breathing apparatus called an AGA mask linked by an umbilcle to an airbank of cyclinders on the boat which is tended by an ADAS dive crew on the surface. Each diver rotates to dive four-five times a week for up to 150 mins each dive to a depth of 12 meters for anywhere up to 19 bounces. This means we ascend and descend up to 19 times in any one dive. We work in zero visibility in an ocean harbour naturally stained by the tannins of tea tree and button grass local to the remote pristine World Heritage Wilderness Area of the Gordon-Franklin, Tasmania.

I considered my employment somewhat of a self-designed research residency project. By exploring farmed ocean fishing practices from the vantage of the mort diver tending to salmon and trout in free-flowing ocean pens at various stages of life from smolt to harvest-sized fish, and the relationship to the crews, farmers and environment, to reflect on cycles of life and light. Material and experience gathered will culminate towards a publication (due to be released April 2011) and a short 'magical realism' film with Anita Doron.
Source: The Huon Aquaculture Group [HUON] 2009

Modern Aquaculture Pen layout - Graphic copyright Dr. Sarah Jane Pell
  • La petit Mort, Video Still 2 Pell 2013
  • La petit Mort, Video Still 1 Pell 2013
  • La petit Mort, Video Still 3 Pell 2013
  • La petit Mort, Video Still 4 Pell 2013
  • La petit Mort, Video Still 5 Pell 2013
  • La petit Mort, Video Still 6 Pell 2013
  • La petit Mort, Video Still 8 Pell 2013
  • La petit Mort, Video Still 10 Pell 2013
  • La petit Mort, Video Still 9 Pell 2013

Video stills, 'La Petit Mort, 2012' Filmed by and staring Strahan Dive "A" Team, night 'mort' diving Petuna Aquaculture, Macquarie Harbour Tasmania c. 2010, Post production Sarah Jane Pell, 2012. Special thanks to Tim Richards, Lou, Jono, Matt, and Nicole.

Strahan, WestCoast Tasmania AU

Le Petite Mort - Aquaculture Divers by Sarah Jane Pell

Aquaculture Diver - Author, Graphics & Photos by Sarah Jane Pell - Due to be released April 2011

Dr. Sarah Jane Pell Maquarie Harbour, Tasmania. Photo Dr. Paul Harty-Smith 2009

Dr. Sarah Jane Pell 2009 Strahan - Maquarie Harbour, Tasmania. Photo Dr. Paul Harty-Smith

Without sight, I can completely focus on how and where my body moves underwater. Sometimes, I imagine myself like an astronaut falling amongst the stars but my breath constantly orients me as an ever-present reminder of my own fragile embodiment and the delicate balance of life that surrounds me here on Planet Earth. - Pell, TEDxSydney

Macquarie Harbour, Tasmania

Macquarie Harbour, Tasmania: a unique naturally occuring "black water" harbour tannin-stained by indigenous teatree and button grass from the Gordon-Franklin World Heritage Wilderness. (Scale: 2xSydney Harbour.)

Google Map Maquarie Harbour, Tasmania
Google Map Langerrareroune (Sarah Is.) Tasmania

Langerrareroune (Aboriginal Name) Sarah Island (Colonial name) Tasmania's first Penal Settlement 1822-33. Macquarie Harbour, Tasmania

Langerrareroune (Sarah Island)

Sarah Island is a place of memorial and remembrance for Palawa people. The incarceration, gross mistreatment, death and interment on this island of many west coast Aboriginal people over a two-year span has cast a sense of disquiet and sorrow over the island. The parallel convict history of the site and subsequent tourism ventures do not adequately respect the memory and resting place of those with another history – that of the captured Toogee. Julie Gough

Further reading: N Plomley (ed), Friendly mission, Hobart, 1966; and Weep in silence, Hobart, 1987; L Ryan, The Aboriginal Tasmanians, Sydney, 1996.