Stop Eating Farmed Salmonby Jay Ritchlin
Independent Online - September 5, 2004
This letter is in response to the following report: Are oily fish good for you? It depends
In our search for the healthiest fish option, we are missing the point entirely.
Lost in the discussion is that salmon farming as it is currently practiced depletes global fish stocks. Salmon are carnivores. Farmed salmon are currently fed fishmeal and oil made from other fish. It takes 3-5 kilos of wild herring, anchovies or other fish, usually bought from developing countries, to produce 1 kilo of farmed salmon for the tables and barbecues of the industrialized world.
Open-netcage salmon farms already impact wild salmon stocks with their disease, waste, and parasites. This, coupled with the rapid depletion of global fish stocks, makes salmon farming unsustainable on a global scale. The debate over the relative health benefits between wild vs. farmed salmon, fish oil vs. vegetable oil, must take these factors into account. If we all demand fish-fed farmed salmon for our health, we contribute to the depletion of wild stocks and the reduction of quality protein in poorer nations.
Itís time to look at our fish choices through a broader lens. We canít all eat salmon, all of the time. If we want to see wild fish options on the menus of the future, we must stop eating farmed salmon, close down open-netcage salmon farms and invest in closed-containment aquaculture with sustainably farmed herbivores such as tilapia and carp.
Good health and a healthy environment start with eating a variety of sustainably harvested seafood in moderation along with exercise and a balanced diet.
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