The Beacon

4 Reasons to Avoid Farmed Salmon

Excuse my tardiness, but this week (Oct 20-25) is the Global Week of Action for the Pure Salmon Campaign, with which Oceana Chile is a partner.

Yesterday, Oceana's chief scientist, Mike Hirshfield, took part in a press conference call to discuss the primary environmental and consumer issues associated with farmed salmon and to call upon the FDA to implement a more thorough testing process to identify toxic chemicals in imported farmed fish.

Oceana's Chile office is working to halt the overuse of antibiotics in the country's farmed salmon.

Here are four good reasons why you should think twice about farmed salmon: 

1. It's bad for wild salmon. Approximately three million farmed salmon escape from their pens each year, jeopardizing endangered wild salmon populations with genetic dilution.

2. It spreads disease. The crowded conditions of salmon farming pens provide ideal conditions for the outbreak of parasites and disease, such as infectious salmon anemia, which caused the collapse of the industry in 2007. The diseases are often transferred to the wild salmon as they swim past the caged salmon.

As a result of the overcrowding and potential for disease transfer, the industry uses high doses of pesticides and antibiotics on the fish, including the quinolone family of antibiotics, which are meant for use only in humans.

3. It's wasteful. Carnivorous farmed salmon consume wild caught fish for food, competing directly with humans and other fish species for this diminishing resource. In Chile, it can take 8 kilograms of fish from the world's oceans to produce 1 kilogram of farmed salmon. 

Some of the fisheries that feed salmon -- anchoveta, sardines, jack mackerel -- are now becoming overexploited as a result, which has consequences for the entire ocean food chain.

4. It's bad for your health. Farmed salmon contains high concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other dangerous contaminants, and the widespread use of antibiotics and pesticides may lead to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. (Plus, It is dyed "salmon" color because its natural color would be grey from it's artificial diet.)

Participate in the Global Week of Action by talking to your friends and family about farmed salmon.


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