When choosing to buy salmon, there are two choices: wild-caught salmon harvested by fishermen or farmed salmon grown and harvested in captivity. By choosing wild salmon at their local stores and restaurants, consumers use the power of the marketplace to help recover wild salmon stocks (through fishing regulations and habitat restoration) where they are in trouble. Farmed salmon jeopardize rivers and estuaries and, as a result, the wild salmon populations that depend on them. Even “organically”, “ecologically”, or “sustainably” farmed salmon have a devestating impact on wild Pacific salmon species.
What’s wrong with farmed salmon?
The “recipe” for wild salmon is pretty simple – cold, clean water; access to spawning and rearing areas; and abundant supplies of food. The conditions required by wild salmon are the same conditions required by other species, including humans. But some people think that maintaining wild salmon populations is too expensive and requires too much room. They’d like to farm salmon more “cost effectively” – some people are always looking for ways to do things on the cheap. Farming salmon requries dumping antibiotics and unnatural foods into our waterways; this pollutes the water used by native species and exposes wild salmon populations to infections and extra competition. The farmed salmon excrete alot of wastes from their pens, further polluting the water.
Learn about the damage done by salmon farms by watching the video below:
The right choice
Your choice of wild-caught salmon is a vote for clean and abundant freshwater conditions and sensible fisheries management. It’s an investment in the cold, clean rivers that wild salmon and steelhead require. It’s your vote for free passage for salmon and steelhead to and from healthy, functional spawning and rearing habitat. By requesting wild Pacific salmon, you demand that we manage our healthy populations sustainably and recover the ones in trouble. Consumer choice matters and the market is paying attention. If we don’t ask for wild salmon, the market hears that too. Before long the choice itself is gone and artificial salmon are the only fish left in the marketplace.
Consumers who understand wild salmon’s intrinsic, nutritional, economic and ecological value and the businesses and fishing communities that serve those consumers have a responsibility to wild salmon and steelhead. Each of us can actively work for the conditions in the water, on the land, and in our management that make coexisting with wild salmon and steelhead possible. Just as we have a right to clean air and clean water, people have the right to expect healthy, self-sustaining, and fishable wild and native salmon and steelhead runs in our home waters. With that right comes the responsibility to demand it, and to take care of the conditions that make it possible.
Encourage restaurants you frequent to stop serving farm raised salmon. Learn more by visiting our friends at Fish or Cut Bait
Additional resources on wild v. farmed salmon
National Geographic: Farmed salmon decimating wild stocks. The first worldwide assessment of the impact of cultivated salmon on wild stocks found that where native populations encounter salmon farms, the numbers of wild fish crash, on average, by more than 50 percent…
Mark’s Daily Apple: Salmon: Factory farmed vs. Wild. Because the farmed salmon are largely confined and fed a steady diet of formulated protein pellets, they’re inevitably fattier. “But isn’t that a good thing?” you might ask. “More omega-3s per serving, right?” The answers are “no” and “not really”…
Farmed and Dangerous: Wild salmon has been widely acclaimed for its health benefits. Many consumers want to know if farmed salmon offers the same health benefits…