Written by Katy Rohl
For thousands of years salt production has been a profitable industry. Now, after receiving approval, Alice Laing and Chris Manson are set to begin a new venture of salt flake production in Mayfield Point, Swansea. Although previous attempts have been made on salt production in this area, the partnership is hopeful that they will have success in their endeavors.
Based in a shed on the East Coast of Tasmania Laing and Manson are gearing up to create a great quality sea salt from the clear waters for the first time in almost 2 centuries. The pair is hoping to have more success than James Radcliffe, who in 1830 operated a salt works in the same area for just over a decade before it was forced to close business.
Although salt production has been practiced for many years, according to Manson, it is a simplistic procedure and has barely changed over time. “We suck up some seawater, we need to then concentrate it so it’s essentially a saturated solution and at that point we then just heat it really gently.”
With the potential of profit prevalent, the question of salt extractions effect on the environment is likely to be at the very back of producers mind. However, the practice of extracting salt from the sea will disturb natural sea life. According to US based marine conservationists MarineBio the chemical balances within the ocean are essential to the welfare of the greatest abundance of life on earth. The salinity of the ocean, ensured through crystalized salt dissolving on contact with water, is relatively constant throughout the ocean and the presence of healthy sea life depends on it.
Marine life is well equipped to regulate the salt within their bodies through a remarkable process known as osmoregulation. This process involves the creatures monitoring the levels of salt that they are consuming and excreting the excess through their skin and gills. Altering the levels of salinity within the seawater would change the environment that the marine life is equipped and made to live within and could ultimately cause devastation to the vertebrates.
Within Mayfield Point of Swansea, Tasmania, the proposal of manufacturing a new type of sea salt is likely to reap benefits financially and attract ‘foodies’ from around the World. However, disrupting the salinity of the clear waters in order to extract the sea salt will affect the marine life that is accustomed to the present levels of salt within the water they reside in. The ultimate question that Tasmanian salt lovers must now ask themselves is whether it is worth disturbing the home of such vast amounts of creatures just to add a bit of flavor to your next meal?