Friday, October 4, 2013

Farmed Salmon Article

The recent Washington Post article highlighted the progress that salmon farms have made in the last few years in producing salmon while reducing the negative environmental effects of the process.  I was happy to see that light was being shed into the world of aquaculture and how it's not the enemy to sustainable seafood.  If aquaculture is done right, farmed seafood can offer consumers affordable, healthy protein while taking some pressures off of wild stocks.

Though I wished the article had emphasized the importance of eating seafood such as salmon in general, I am happy that it educated the public about positive changes happening in the salmon industry, albeit briefly.  I was not ready for the backlash though, especially in the comment section, that followed.

Lets get some things straight.  Salmon farming is not a totally sustainable production at this second, but there are farms such as Verlasso, True North, and Skuna Bay that are making great strides.  Such great strides that I would be willing to bet that some farmed salmon will be rated 'green' within the next five years.  It's a pretty safe bet considering Monterey Bay Aquarium already rates Verlasso 'yellow', one step below 'green'.  Consuming conscientiously farmed salmon is good for you, and tasty according to the Post' article.  Farmed salmon should not be considered at odds with wild salmon.  Wild salmon are a great source of healthy protein and their importance to our environment should never be overlooked.  But there are only so many wild salmon that we can take out of the water sustainably.  Feeding a growing population with a growing seafood demand is a daunting task to place on a natural resource that is subject to the unforgiving cycles of nature.  There's just simply not enough wild salmon to feed everyone.  Is that not the point of setting quotas in the first place, to protect the wild stocks?  Farmed salmon should be viewed as filling in the gaps that wild salmon leave between meals and seasons, not as opposition to wild harvest.

The Washington Post article is good news for everyone, whether you eat wild salmon, farmed salmon, or no salmon.  Farming salmon is becoming a sustainable process.  Companies are finally figuring it out.  There are issues with farming salmon, but the answer is to continue to make it better, not give up.  It's just too good a protein to give up.  Consumers give a damn about the food that they eat and how the environment is affected by the processes that get it to their plate.  We the consumers have put enough pressure on big salmon companies to come up with better methods of farming, and shockingly, they are finally listening.  This is progress.  You can find faults with salmon farms still, sure.  But the fact that the farmers are listening and continuing to work on producing a better product, better for your health and the environment's, is a net positive.


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