Farmed Salmon is bad for you and bad for the environment
Farmed salmon is bad for you
Total PCBs, dioxins, dieldrin, and toxaphene are consistently and significantly more concentrated in the farmed salmon than in the wild salmon.
The Environmental Defense Fund has issued a health advisory for farmed salmon due to high levels of PCBs and warning to “avoid or eat infrequently until improvements are made.” Specifically, adults should eat no more than 1 meal per month, kids age 6-12 should eat no more than 1 meal per month, and kids up to age 6 should eat no more than ½ meals per month.
Farmed salmon are routinely treated with pesticides to control sea lice and other parasites.
Farmed salmon are routinely treated with antibiotics to control furunculosis (appears as boil-like lesions on the skin) and other diseases.
Artificial colorants are added to the fish food to make the flesh look orange. Otherwise, it would be grey or yellow.
Farmed salmon is bad for the environment
It generally takes three pounds of wild fish to grow one pound of farmed salmon. As a result, farming salmon actually uses more fish than it produces, which puts more pressure on wild fish populations, not less.
Most salmon are farmed in open pens and cages in coastal waters. Untreated waste from these farms is released directly into the ocean. Parasites and diseases from farmed salmon can spread to wild fish swimming near the farms and escaping farmed salmon can harm wild populations.
Finally, think about the amount of fossil fuel you are using to eat farmed salmon. Most farmed salmon comes from Scotland, Norway, Canada, the United Kingdom and Chile.
All salmon farmed in ocean net pens get an “Avoid” ranking from Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.
Thanks to the efforts of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch and Greenpeace, Target Corporation announced on January 26 that they have eliminated all farmed salmon from its fresh, frozen, and smoked seafood offerings in Target stores nationwide. This announcement includes Target owned brands – Archer Farms® and Market Pantry® – and national brands. All salmon sold under Target owned brands will now be wild-caught Alaskan salmon. Additionally, sushi featuring farm-raised salmon will complete its transition to wild-caught salmon by the end of 2010.
Thanks for the efforts of GreenPeace, Trader Joe’s has agreed to:
• Offer only sustainable seafood in stores by December 31, 2012.
• Work with a third-party, science-based organizations to establish definitions and parameters for addressing customer concerns about overfishing, destructive catch or production methods, and the importance of marine reserves.
• Remove “red-listed” seafood from their shelves. They stopped selling Chilean Sea Bass in 2005, Orange Roughy in July of 2009, and Red Snapper in March of 2010.
• Provide accurate information on all seafood labels, including species’ Latin names, origin and catch or production method.
• Use their buying power to leverage change in the seafood industry.
These are huge victories. Now other stores and restaurants need to follow their lead.
What can you do?
There are a number of very easy and simple actions that you can take.
1. Don’t buy it. Ever. Monterey Bay Aquariums Seafood Watch lists good alternatives, especially to buy wild caught Alaskan salmon which has been managed responsibly.
2. Print this and tell your friends.
3. Take action on BuzzGenie by joining the “Stop Selling Farmed Salmon” group and sending postcards and letters to business leaders and political decision makers, printing the flyer and giving it to your friends, sign the petitions, and buying and wearing the No Farmed Salmon T-shirt.
4. Join Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch and Become a Seafood Watch Advocate.
5. If you are a Yelper then give low ratings to stores and restaurants that sell farmed salmon.
I love shopping or eating at my favorite store or restaurant—should I stop?
Absolutely not! Your store or restaurant is only going to get serious about sustainable seafood if their customers and potential customers demand it.
I don’t eat seafood. Why should I care?
You don’t have to eat seafood to be concerned with the health of our oceans and sustainability of fisheries.
Is there any hope?
Absolutely. Thanks to growing awareness of the plight of our oceans, and consumer interest in supporting businesses that make every effort to implement sustainability, there is progress such as Target’s elimination of the products. But more needs to be done and it’s easy so why leave it up to others? Your own actions are so vitally important. So, thank you!