Naturally Delicious Seafood
The Truth About Farmed Salmon Photo Page

I really want you to understand what you are eating if you consume farmed salmon. One may think it is an acceptable alternative to wild salmon. One may also think you are saving wild salmon by eating this fish. Wrong.

Farmed salmon are actually environmentally devastating. Unlike a cow raised on a farm, salmon are raised in pens in coastal waters so when they escape it creates huge problems for the native fish stocks. A farmer will go and chase his cow back to the farm, not so with a farmed salmon. They compete for food and space. They are even spawning in the same rivers and streams cross breeding and out competing their wild cousins. This will lead to the extinction of the wild stocks in the long term.

The pollution the farms create kills the ocean floor around the pens. It is fish excrement and uneaten feed that accumulates that is the pollution. This waste is high in nitrogen and phosphorous, this leads to growth of algae and oxygen depletion. The fish are also feed high levels of antibiotics, pesticides, fungicides and even dyes to make their flesh the correct color of pink. All this, being added directly to the water. This water does not stay still, it flows. Of course the thinking might go, this cleans out the area, well all that pollution settles to the bottom of a much bigger area. It has been noted by ocean biologist that under the net pens nothing grows or lives for miles around.

The reason the fish are feed all this nasty stuff is because in the highly populated pens, disease outbreaks are rampid. These diseases are also passed on to wild salmon and other organisms as they migrate past the pens.

Besides all the pollution and the common escapees, there is the fishmeal itself. It is composed of anchovies, mackerel, and sardines along with the high levels of antibiotics, pesticides and fungicides mentioned earlier. Of course this is some of what a wild fish eats. With out the balance of shrimp and other natural food items the farmed fishes flesh is a gray color, so dye is added to the food to get just the right pink. It takes 5 kilograms of these wild baitfish for 1 kilogram of harvested-farmed salmon. This is a huge waste of ocean resources that is devastating to the local ecosystems.

I also think about these genetically engineered fish. They are new to the human food supply and pose unknown risks to human health. There is an interesting picture of an engineered fish in the National Geographic magazine 2002 May issue. It shows two fish at 18 months of age. One is about 6 inches long, the other 20 and harvestable. I wonder which one is the engineered fish? Well, I sure won’t be eating any.

They do look good in the fish department at the store; some might even like the taste. All I ask just think about what you put into your bodies.

Wild fish stocks that we harvest are managed to support sustainable levels of the populations and protect weak runs. The entire fishing fleet along the West Coast is severely restricted in order to avoid the take of weak or endangered salmon stocks. Although this does not address the primary cause of salmon declines, it does provide you some confidence that the wild salmon we catch comes from a healthy run.

Poor logging practices, dams and other land use issues are the primary reason for the decline of wild salmon. They have lost many prime-spawning grounds. The adults have to fight low water levels, as in the Lower Klamath River in the fall of 2002 that killed over 30,000 returning adults. If they make it past that there have to be places suitable to laying eggs. Then the fry have to survive and make it back to the ocean. We have not been able to fish the Klamath River run for some time now. The good news is there are many restoration projects that are making a difference for many weak runs, so we do have hope for the future.

A wild salmon has much better flavor and texture if properly handled. They have a high level of Omega 3 in their oil and are free of the antibiotics and growth hormones. Ask for them where ever you shop.

If you would be interested in frozen vacuum-packed portions please send me e-mail at info@catchofthesea.com. We are looking into making these available if we have enough interest. They are a great way to enjoy this fine fish. Vacuum packing and freezing protects the delicate flavor

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