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ISSUE: Watch Out For Farmed Salmon & Norwegian Salmon


A salmon farm. Photo courtesy Monterey

Farmed fish is controversial for numerous reasons, but one is threatening the wild salmon population. There are concerns that in another generation, there may be no more wild salmon.

Millions of farmed salmon, raised in pens along coastlines, escape each year (due to equipment failure, extreme weather conditions and human error). In the northern Atlantic Ocean alone, an estimated two million farmed salmon escape annually.

These fugitives fish go on to harm the wild salmon population. Farmed salmon carry parasites that can attack the wild salmon population. Farmed salmon are larger and more aggressive than wild salmon; they compete with wild salmon for the food supply. And worse, they interbreed with the wild salmon population, creating hybrids. (Read more about farmed salmon issues.)


Top seafood chef Rick Moonen, a Las Vegas chef, restaurant owner and early champion for sustainable fishing practices, is now an exclusive supporter of wild salmon. Moonen had endorsed Norwegian farmed salmon years ago, but has since learned the harm caused by the open net technology used in Norway and other places. Even a major retail chain can make a commitment to healthier, more sustainable seafood: Target stores has announced that farmed salmon will be eliminated from their more than 1,700 stores. The company will sell only wild salmon.

Still, if you want to do the right thing, you can be misled by false advertising. According to Food & Water Watch, a non-profit organization that works with grassroots organizations around the world to create an economically and environmentally viable future, the Norwegian Seafood Export Council (NSEC) is misleading U.S. consumers with the false impression that Norwegian salmon is wild, not farmed.

Browse through Food & Water Watch’s website for more information on this and other food issues. You’ll be surprised—and chagrined—at the number of issues facing our food supply.


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