The Beacon

Blog Tags: Salmon

Tall People, Big Mines and the Man Who Would Stop a Salmon Holocaust

Bristol Bay, Alaska. (Via Wikimedia Commons)

This is the first in a series of four guest posts by Paul Greenberg, author of the bestselling book, Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food.

A few times in my life I have walked into a party and found myself in a crowd where I'm about as tall as the shortest woman in the room.

As a man who is perched safely above the national average for male height, I have come to take these anomalous parties not as sleights to my standing in the world, but rather as venues where I ought to pay careful attention. For, as so many studies have found, extreme height is linked to extreme wealth, power and influence. Find yourself in a room with very, very tall people, and it's likely some very important decisions could be made. 

And so it was this past Monday night, when Bob Gillam hosted an event for some of New York's tallest hoping to raise consciousness (and, yes, money) to stop "Pebble Mine" the biggest, most egregious onslaught against wild fish we have seen in the last quarter century. For those not aware of it, Pebble Mine is a proposed copper and gold mine that a group called "Anglo American" has put together at the headwaters of Bristol Bay, Alaska. 


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New Study Measures Nations’ ‘SeafoodPrint’

You knew the U.S. had a massive carbon footprint, but did you know we also have the world’s third largest “SeafoodPrint?”

That’s according to a study published today in National Geographic led by Oceana board member and fisheries expert Dr. Daniel Pauly and National Geographic fellow Enric Sala.

How do you measure the "SeafoodPrint" of a country, you ask? By factoring in the type of fish and the total amount hauled in. The researchers used a unit of measurement based on "primary production," the microscopic organisms at the bottom of the marine food web that are required to make a pound of a given type of fish.

China comes in at the number one spot because of its sheer population size, while Peru is ranked second because its anchoveta becomes fish meal for farm-raised pigs, chickens and fish (such as salmon) around the world, even though Peruvians themselves don’t consume a lot of fish. Meanwhile, the U.S. is ranked third because of the type of fish we generally prefer -- top-of-the-food-chain fish, such as tuna and salmon.


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Whole Foods Adopts Seafood Rating System

© Oceana/Emily Fisher

As you’ve probably heard, Whole Foods Market announced last week that it is partnering with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program and Blue Ocean Institute to label all the wild-caught seafood in its North American stores according to their sustainability criteria.

A green label means the fish is relatively abundant and the fishing method causes little damage, yellow indicates that some problems exist with abundance or fishing method, and red means the fish is overfished or the fishing method seriously harms other wildlife or natural habitats. The company has also pledged to eliminate all red-list seafood by Earth Day 2013.

I wanted to see this new rating system for myself, so I headed to the nearest Whole Foods store around lunchtime yesterday. In addition to having a mercury warning clearly posted, the seafood counter’s new stoplight-color rating system appeared prominent and easy to understand.


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Whale Wednesday: Stuck on Salmon

New research out of Canada indicates that some killer whale populations prefer king (a.k.a. Chinook) salmon so much that the whales will actually die when salmon numbers fall. Here's the curious part: killer whales, as apex predators, have their pick of other fish or even other large marine mammals, but still some populations appear to be dependent upon king salmon as their primary food resource. Another study from Hawaii found that killer whales can identify king salmon even when they are swimming alongside Coho and Sockeye salmon. And even in the winter, when king salmon make up just 10 to 15 percent of the salmon in the water, killer whales use echolocation to pick out their favorite fish. That's some impressively picky eating. A recovering picky eater myself, I fully relate. And king salmon are undeniably delicious. Who can blame them? But suffering king salmon populations spell trouble for the orcas. The pollock industry catches enormous amounts of king salmon as bycatch. And due to the low populations, the 2008 king salmon fishing season was cancelled in Oregon and California, and again in 2009 in California. With king salmon lovers abound on land too, something's gotta give.


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4 Reasons to Avoid Farmed Salmon

farmed salmon exposed, oceana chile office, antibito

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.


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