Yesterday the Washington Post published a dangerously misleading article about farmed salmon. Lauding improvements in the salmon farming industry, they assert that farmed salmon is a viable alternative to wild-caught fish. We'd like to set the record straight: farmed salmon is a terrible choice for our oceans.
When you eat farmed salmon, you're really eating another fish called the jack mackerel, or another wild species like sardines or anchovies. Salmon are carnivorous, and farms feed their fish food pellets made from these smaller wild fish. The problem is that many of these species, especially jack mackerel, are dangerously overfished.
For most Chilean farms, it takes about three pounds of wild fish to feed one pound of salmon. So you are likely eating three pounds of jack mackerel or other wild species -- which are likely in trouble -- when sit down to eat your pound of farmed salmon. A small number of Chilean farms have managed to reduce this ratio to one to one. But even then, it still takes a pound of wild fish to make your pound of farmed salmon.
Feed conversion is just one of many problems. Chilean farms are located in pristine, deep-water fjords off of Patagonia, where even minimal pollution could irreparably damage the ecosystem. No matter what they do, even the most responsible salmon farms will pollute their waters with parasiticides, chemicals, and fish feces. The Chilean farmed salmon industry also uses more than 300,000 kilograms of antibiotics a year to keep their fish alive, causing bacterial resistances that affect the surrounding ecosystem and people.
Read the full story at the Huffington Post>>
National Fisherman Live for Dec. 18, 2013
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