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  Salmon

There are two main types of salmon – Atlantic Salmon and Pacific Salmon. Pacific Salmon includes King, Chinook, Sockeye, Coho, Pink and Chum salmon. Atlantic salmon is only available from farmed sources because in the 1990’s the species largely died out in the wild due to the pollution and impacts from salmon farms. ‘Wild Atlantic Salmon’ cannot be bought.

Farmed salmon: An average sized salmon farm creates the same amount of raw sewage as a city of 65,000 people. Salmon farms discard the waste into the ocean, creating a sludge blanketing the seafloor. Wild salmon and other fishes have to swim past salmon farms during their migration upriver, and may pick up diseases and sea lice from the farms in the process. Sea lice outbreaks have devastated wild Atlantic salmon populations. Salmon raised in some farms require five to ten pounds of this wild caught fish to grow one pound of salmon. In this case farming is not helping to reduce fishing pressure on the oceans.

Many farms use antibiotics to counter disease outbreaks that can occur when fish are densely packed in pens. Farmed salmon have more antibiotics administered by weight than any other livestock. The World Health Organization has strongly condemned this practice as a major contributor to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In addition to antibiotics, PCB’s and other toxic chemicals show up in the farmed salmon meat because there are no regulations on the quality of fishmeal used to feed the salmon. There is also evidence that farmed salmon do not provide the same health benefits that wild salmon do. Omega-3 contents can be low in farmed salmon.

Some salmon farms are leading the way to lower impact farming practices. They have reduced sea pen density to avoid disease outbreaks and turned to vaccines instead of antibiotics. Technological advances in feed composition require only a pound of wild fish per pound of salmon, and some farms seek out bycatch fish as their source of feed that would otherwise be discarded. Low-impact farms also invest in underwater camera equipment to avoid over-feeding the salmon to reduce waste production, and rotate sea pens to minimize impacts to the sea floor. Improvements in genetic engineering have produced farmed salmon that cannot interbreed with wild salmon. If you feel you must serve farmed salmon, we can help you find a low impact salmon farm. These farms often market their product as “organic,” although there are no official certification processes for organic fish farming therefore the label is not valid.

Wild Pacific salmon in Alaska is very well managed for sustainability. The waters are clean and catch levels are very high. This is the best choice for salmon and often affordable.


 

 

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