jueves, 18 de abril de 2013


April 18, 2013

                           Farmed salmon = Big ecological footprint

Man´s appetite for farmed fish is leaving a trail of natural and social disasters worldwide. And Norway is at the head of this black wave.

Norway is known not only for its natural beauty but also for its tough environmental policies. At least this is the image sold at home.  

But far away it is another story. Norway is home for two of the biggest fishing industries in the world: Cermaq and Marine Harvest. And these multibillion companies have set up hundreds of fishing farms throughout the world and wherever they go also come serious problems related to the environment, wild fish stocks and human populations (Videos 1-4).

                                                    Video 1. Farmed salmon exposed. Part 1.

                                                    Video 2. Farmed salmon exposed. Part 2.

                                                    Video 3. Farmed salmon exposed. Part 3.

                                                   Video 4. Farmed salmon exposed. Part 4.

To begin with, escaped farmed fish pose a high risk to wild salmon population. They can spread disease to wild fish stocks such as sea lice (mainly Lepeophtheirus salmonis, Caligus spp.) and viruses (Isavirus).

There are reports that indicate that wild salmon runs have disappeared and as a result black and grizzly bears (Ursus americanus and Ursus arctos, respectively) are dying of starvation and could be wiped out in British Columbia´s wild central coast of Canada. These carnivores depend on migratory salmon to store enough fat deposits to make it through the winter.

Wild fish that are caught near fish farms contain antibiotics and pesticides in their flesh.

Salmon smolt production units in salt water and fresh water locations cause mass release of hybrid and transgenic salmons thus altering local wild salmon genetic strains. 

The fishing industry is also at the root of declining populations of fish, marine reptiles and mammals. These global enterprises harvest and rake the ocean bottoms catching fish for human consumption and to manufacture animal feed including fish. 

At sea, the fishery highliners and factories capture thousands of marine animals in the nets. They dump back into the ocean waht they do not need. Commercial fisheries are really looting the marine ecosystems. 

As human populations increase, so will the demand for fish. But aquaculture is not the solution. We must remember that commercial fisheries need more animal resources such as fish and krill to raise their caged animals. 

Farming  fish means that a lot of fish meal is needed to bring the contained stocks to desirable biomass and marketable size in the first place. It takes about 5 kg of caught fish and Antactic krill to produce around 1 kg of farm salmon.

Furthermore, farmed fish consume tonnes of pellets manufactured with transgenic soybeans which require extensive use of herbicides (glyphosate) and large extensions of land which in turn are directly linked to deforestation, social and medical problems wherever this crop is planted in South America (Video 5-6). 

                                          Video 5. The true cost of growing soy in South America.

                                                      Video 6. Argentine, le soja de la faim.

And to make things worse, pesticides and antibiotics are used in pen fish farms to combat infections.  Table 1 shows a list of antibiotics that were used by the salmon industry in Chile during 2007. Nowadays 1 of every 5 farmed salmons come from Chile.

 Table 1. Antibiotics used in the Chilean salmon industry. Modified from Gobierno de Chile (2008).


Salmon farm nets are coated with antifouling agents (copper alloys) to reduce fouling organisms as well. High concentrations of copper are harmful to animals and humans.

All of these factors make farmed salmon not safe to eat.

The impact of the fish cages in the environment is negative. Feed and other organic substances filter through the nets and decay and accumulate causing oxygen depletion which leads to a marine desert beneath the salmon cages.

So we can clearly see that consuming farmed salmon leaves behind a big ecological footprint

Besides salmon is not a staple food that we must have in order to live. Unless you are a native living off mother nature who depends upon salmon for survival, this fish is a luxury item.

And if you are wondering where you are going to get your daily dosis of Omega-3, the new nutrition fad imposed by the pharmaceutical companies through clever marketing (mass manipulation), you can obtain it by eating Chia (Salvia hispanica) seeds, the richest source of this lipid. 

In case you should you want to live off the best possible nutrients only from plants there are two true miracles in the plant kingdom to take into account: Moringa oleifera, the miraculous tree originally from India and Brosimum alicastrum, the wonder food of the Mayans in Mesoamerica.

As conclusion, the fish industry is not sustainable in a world of finite resources. If we are told otherwise, they are lying to us. And where there is big money involved, businesses will go to any length to keep the dollars rolling into their arks. 

The solution is very simple: Not to eat fish. As simple as that.


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