Should We Eat Farmed Salmon?


salmon_cUnfortunately ubiquitous in Hawaii's restaurants is farmed salmon. Most islanders are unaware of the many reasons to avoid ordering this manufactured fish. Aquaculture should be saving our ocean resources rather than depleting them. Sadly, this isn't the case for farmed salmon.

  • For every harvested pound of farmed fish, two pounds of fish are fed to the salmon. It's a little like raising tigers instead of sheep for food.
  • The pens in which farmed salmon are raised are placed directly in the ocean. Farmed fish are treated with pesticides, antibiotics and other drugs, and these additives circulate through the marine environment.
  • Wild salmon are infected when they swim near the farms. Sea lice, which are present in vast numbers in these facilities, attach themselves to baby salmon, killing more than 75 percent of those affected.
  • In a 2005 study, researchers reported that the levels of chlorinated pesticides, dioxins, PCBs and other contaminants are up to 10 times greater in farm-raised salmon than in wild Pacific salmon.
  • Although Alaska has banned fish farms, British Columbia has encouraged them. Wild Salmon stocks in B.C. are collapsing. Alaska still has plenty of wild salmon, although fishery officials worry about infection and interbreeding coming from the south.

If environmental reasons are inadequate to convince you that supporting this industry is bad policy, consider the taste! Farm-raised salmon is mostly Atlantic salmon (this is a salmon species rather than a location). Atlantic salmon is soft, mushy and rather flavorless. Eating wild salmon is a completely different experience.

For more information on aquaculture, many sources of reliable information are available through the Internet and our public libraries. Please be informed on this issue and ask your waiter what kind of salmon is being served!


+1 #1 Stan 2009-07-08 14:51 I've always preffered fish in restaurants. From now on I'm going to check first what salmon they serve. Concerning those contaminants, I wonder how it gets through sanitary control? Oh, well, standards are probably raised. "10 times more pestecides?" - No problem, it's still within permittable limits Quote

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