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Effects of Fish Farming


Harvesting Wild Salmon and Those Down on the Farm

I have seen firsthand the effects of fish farming in the open seas.

Oct. 3, 2014 3:01 p.m. ET

I have seen firsthand the effects of fish farming in the open seas (“Farmed Salmon Gets Respect,” Personal Journal, Sept. 25). It is devastating to the wild salmon runs in the vicinity. Escapes of farmed salmon are frequent occurrences in open-net pen fish farming. Salmon that escape can enter rivers and breed with wild salmon, causing reduced genetic diversity and fitness in wild populations. In addition to escapes, the east coast Canadian industry has been plagued by sea lice and disease outbreaks. Sea lice are becoming increasingly resistant to treatment, prompting industry to use more toxic chemicals to control outbreaks, sometimes illegally, resulting in the deaths of crustaceans such as lobster.

I commend Whole Foods for buying all of its farmed salmon for its Midwest U.S. stores from a land-based salmon farmer in Iceland. The Atlantic Salmon Federation, an international wild Atlantic salmon conservation organization, is working in partnership with the Conservation Fund Freshwater Institute in West Virginia to develop the technology to grow Atlantic salmon in land-based, closed-containment facilities. The result has been a farmed product that has no need for antibiotics or harsh chemicals to control disease and parasites, faster growth, no uneaten food or feces contaminating the sea floor, no disease spread to the environment and no escapes. There are entrepreneurs who are using this technology, and their product is beginning to be marketed. This should please discriminating chefs who truly want great taste plus a product that doesn’t harm the environment.

Bill Taylor
Atlantic Salmon Federation
St. Andrews, New Brunswick