Farm Fed Salmon Dangers to Fish, Oceans and Humans

Salmon farms located in northern waters off United States, Canada, Scotland, Norway and off Chile in South America One of the more controversial elements of the current ocean crisis is the farming of fish, and the common form of that is Salmon Farms that are usually just offshore and are primarily in northern waters off the United States, Canada, Scotland, Norway and off Chile on the Pacific Coast of South America.  However, at this point farm fed Salmon operations, while much better run ten years ago, often create more problems than they solve. Salmon farms in many areas are located in the paths of salmon migration routes and so pathogens, pesticides, viruses, antibiotics and other dangerous compounds leak from farms into the ocean and infect and kill wild salmon. Wild Salmon have more Omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial to health.  One documentary, seen below, says the only Salmon doing well are those not passing closely to farms in their migration travels.       

Wild salmon fishing, Alaska. Viking Maid and
Salmon Confidential Documentary, 2013, British Columbia

Salmon Wars

Pure Zing E-Magazine, for a better lifestyle

Seven Reasons to
Avoid Farm Raised Salmon

Over 60% of the fish eaten in the United States is farm-raised. What are some of the things that you should know about man-raised salmon?

FAn enclosed pen of farmed fish that may pose a threat to wild populations because of bacteria, disease and antibiotic use. armed Salmon:

  1. have seven times the levels of PCB’s as wild salmon
  2. have 30 times the number of sea lice
  3. are fed chemicals to give them color
  4. are fed pellets of chicken feces, corn meal, soy, genetically modified canola oil and other fish containing concentrations of toxins
  5. are administered antibiotics at higher levels than any other livestock
  6. have less omega 3’s due to lack of wild diet
  7. are crowed into small areas inhibiting movement, and causing disease

Typical Salmon Farm off the coastline, those in migration path of wild salmon infect the free salmon with antibiotics and pesticidesWild salmon may only eat a bite or two of other fish. Mostly they feed on krill, giving them their rich red color. Krill are mostly toxin-free. Man-raised fish are fed pellets containing high concentrations of fish. It is this concentration of fish that increases PCB levels as concentrating the fish, concentrates toxins, mercury etc.

Because putting more fish into a smaller area means more money to the companies raising the fish, it also means more diseased, susceptible fish. Lice are prevalent in man-raised fish. To combat lice and other diseases, the man-raised fish are given antibiotics. The quantities of antibiotics given are in higher concentrations than any other ‘livestock’. Those antibiotics are passed on to the consumer, making us more antibiotic resistant.

Chum salmon navigating through McNeil River falls, Alaska, USA

Wild salmon have a varied diet and along with their free roaming, their Omega 3 concentrations are high. Man-raised salmon are fed toxic fish pellets also containing unsanitary and genetically modified foods. The color of a farmed fish is gray due to its diet and confinement. To make it look pink/red, the fish are fed chemical dyes. Man cannot however raise the levels of Omega 3 as this is only produced in free roaming fish.

We are encouraged to eat more fish for their health giving Omega 3’s. As wild fish cost more, we think we have a good deal in farm-raised fish: cleaner and cheaper. As usual, you get what you pay for. Mother Nature still does it best. She doesn’t confine, inject or concentrate toxins in her wild salmon.

Fish that have roamed freely, eaten their natural, wild diet, and have no intervention by man are the fish that are healthy. Now that you know the difference between man-raised fish and wild fish, is saving a dollar or two worth it to your long-term health?

To stay healthy, eat natural and organic foods. Wild fish, grass-fed cows, dairy that has not been boiled and crops free of pesticides and modification is the way that Mother Nature intended it.

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EcoWatch Logo, information on environmental issues around the world

Is Farmed Salmon Safe to Eat?
John Deike


For years, environmentalists advised consumers to steer clear of farmed salmon, but now, some groups are beginning to ease their warnings due to a progressive partnership that will gradually overhaul the industry, according to National Geographic.

Pieces of salmon served up for a meal. Demand is Growing, Increased Consumption, Feed More with Less: Given its high protein, heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and low traces of saturated fats, salmon is increasingly being marketed as a nutritious food.  The shift in perspective has helped increase salmon demand by more than 20 percent over the last decade, and consumption has spiked three-fold worldwide since 1980.

In fact, salmon aquaculture, otherwise known as fish farming, is the fastest growing food production system in the world—accounting for 70 percent (2.4 million metric tons) of the market, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Aquaboounty Salmon fish farming indoor facility where the water quality is controlled tightly. Five years ago, global fish farming production lapped wild catches as the primary source of all seafood consumed, and two years ago, global aquaculture production outpaced global beef production

Environmentalists had sounded past warnings to avoid farmed salmon, mainly because the carnivorous fish are fed animal-derived proteins called “fish meal,” or fish oil made from anchovies, which have been shown to carry Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other toxins that can make their way into the human food supply.

Map Salmon Farm Locations Around the World“It’s fair to say that salmon farming is better than it used to be, but it used to be horrendous,” wrote Oceana contributor Justine Hausheer. “Even the best farms still pollute their waters with parasiticides, chemicals and fish feces. The Chilean farmed salmon industry uses over 300,000 kilograms of antibiotics a year, causing bacterial resistances that affect fish, the environment and human beings.”

Additionally, farmed salmon can leap out of the oceanside pens they are raised in, which can potentially spread disease or unwanted genes to wild populations already under stress from overfishing, pollution and shrinking habitats.

Sundsfjord_tank_sept_2012Yet, the fish farming industry has taken major steps to clean up its act and is now gaining positive feedback from environmental groups, according to Jason Clay, WWF’s senior vice president for market transformation. Clay spoke on farmed salmon at Seafood Expo North America in Boston on Tuesday and is an authority on the matter due, in part, to his contributions in developing a set of sustainability standards called the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).

Founded in 2010 and based in the Netherlands, the ASC is a nonprofit organization, which is helping to lead a global certification and labeling program for responsibly farmed seafood that reduces social and environmental impacts.

ASC standards include 152 different indicators, including low tolerance for escaping fish, limits on antibiotics and safety guidelines on food the fish can be fed.

So far, a small proportion of salmon grown on Norway farms has been shown to meet the group’s standards, but much more is on the way in various countries.

Last August, 15 major salmon farm companies, representing 70 percent of the world-farmed salmon market, formed the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI), which has pledged to source 100 percent of their salmon from farms that meet ASC standards by 2020.

All agriculture inevitably pollutes to some degree, said Doris Soto, senior aquaculture officer with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, at this week’s seafood expo. With this agreement, salmon producers have set themselves apart, she said.

“The industry is trying to face its problems, especially the environmental problems in a way that has perhaps not been done in agriculture,” she told USA Today.

Despite Ongoing Progress, Critical Impacts Linger

According to WWF, here are some major environmental and social impacts the salmon farm industry needs to address in the coming years:

  • Biodiversity Loss
    Chemicals and excess nutrients from food and feces associated with salmon farms can disturb the flora and fauna on the ocean bottom.
  • Chemical Inputs
    Excessive use of chemicals, such as antibiotics, anti-foulants and pesticides, or the use of banned chemicals can have unintended consequences for marine organisms and human health.
  • Disease and parasites
    Viruses and parasites transfer between farmed and wild fish as well as among farms, presenting a risk to wild populations or other farms.
  • Escapes
    Escaped farmed salmon can compete with wild fish and interbreed with local wild stocks of the same population, altering the overall pool of genetic diversity.
  • Feed
    Escaped farmed salmon can compete with wild fish and interbreed with local wild stocks of the same population, altering the overall pool of genetic diversity.
  • Nutrient Pollution and Carrying Capacity
    Excess food and fish waste increase the levels of nutrients in the water and have the potential to lead to oxygen-deprived waters that stress aquatic life.
  • Social Issues
    Salmon farming often employs a large number of workers on farms and in processing plants, potentially placing labor practices and worker rights under public scrutiny. Additionally, conflicts can arise among users of the shared coastal environment.