Monthly Archives: October 2013

Consumers and businesses wise enough to make their own choice about Farmed Salmon

People don’t generally like being told what to do – especially if it’s by a group of scare-mongering protestors.

Last week, the Cowichan News-Leader ran a story about a group of protestors who took to the local Walmart Supercentre to protest their stocking of farm-raised salmon. The story included this incredible quote that illustrates just how wrong some of these people are:

“No one knows if salmon parasites go into people. It’s insanity on multiple levels.” (Leanne Hodges )

When the story was posted online, west coast salmon farmer James Costello had to set the record straight – and got some humorous back up.

102310 Protestors are the Parasites - james

102310 Protestors are the Parasites - way to go james

It didn’t end there though – the next day, the below opinion piece ran in the same paper. The summary? Don’t remove customers’ choice. They can educate themselves and make their own decisions thankyouverymuch. We – retailers, diners, shoppers – are smart enough to do it without people like Leanne above insisting they should make those choices for us.

The case for

The fish farming industry has repeatedly addressed the concerns raised by its opponents.

The government has examined these same concerns and decided to allow salmon farming to continue.

Armed with both sides of the argument, consumers and businesses are wise enough to make their own choices about whether or not to buy.

Let them.

Oceana errs again, ignores the facts in fish feed screed

By Grant Warkentin, Communications Officer, Mainstream Canada.

2013-10-17: By ignoring the issue of salmon ranching, Oceana shows that not only is the organization stuck in the past, but it is also unscientific and ignorant, content to preach rather than to educate the public.

Embarrassed, perhaps, when his ignorance about salmon feed conversion ratios was exposed last month, Oceana CEO Andrew Sharpless published a defensive blog post today.

“Comparing the feed ratios of farmed salmon to wild salmon is like comparing apples to oranges, or jack mackerel to wild salmon. It doesn’t make sense. To see the full picture, you need to compare the effect of both animals on wild fisheries and oceans,” he writes.

That’s true, Andy. You do need to compare the effect of both animals on wild fisheries and oceans. And the criticisms you throw at farmed salmon for feed consumption must also be applied to wild Alaskan salmon.

That’s because the wild Alaska salmon Andy likes to promote eat the same fish feed that farmed fish eat.

Yep. Wild salmon DO eat pellets.

Every year Alaska releases 1.5 billion hatchery-raised salmon into the wild as part of the state’s “ocean ranching” program. Those fish eat an enormous amount of fish feed in the hatcheries (and ocean pens) before they are released.

Alaskan enhancement fish eat nearly 1.3 million metric tonnes (wet weight) of feed per year. BC farmed salmon eat 162,340 tonnes per year.

Wild salmon from Alaska use nearly eight times more fish feed than BC farmed salmon

101713 Oceana

And when you compare the amount of wild fish being ground up to feed wild salmon in Alaska hatcheries to the amount for BC salmon farms, it is clear that wild Alaskan salmon, not farmed salmon, pose the greatest threat to the forage fish used to make fish meal and fish oil.

Environmental groups believe Alaska’s ocean ranching practices pose other threats to the truly wild salmon. Oceana has spent a great deal of time and money condemning tuna ranching, but is strangely silent about the threats posed by the ranched “wild” Alaska salmon Sharpless loves to promote.

Why is that?

By ignoring the issue of salmon ranching, Oceana shows that not only is the organization stuck in the past, but it is also unscientific and ignorant, content to preach rather than to educate the public.