Tag Archives: Andrew Sharpless

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.

Oceana CEOs are stuck in the past.

The following letter was submitted to the Editor of the Washington Post by Grant Warkentin on October 01, 2013. Re: "Salmon farming isn't sustainable yet,"

The letter by Andrew Sharpless and Alex Muñoz deliberately muddies the
waters in the discussion about salmon farming, and shows that the two CEOs
of Oceana are stuck in the past.

They argue that farmed salmon are not sustainable because they are fed wild
fish, and suggest increasing wild stock abundance. How? By increasing
hatchery outputs, which will compete with truly wild fish?

And what do they think wild salmon eat? How could these two CEOs ignore
the concept of trophic levels taught by Dr. Daniel Pauly, member of their
own Oceana board?

The ocean food chain is divided into trophic levels, which increase by a
factor of 10 each level. That means wild salmon eat 10 times their weight
in small wild fish. Our farmed salmon currently eat only 1.1 times their
own weight in small wild fish, and that number is decreasing.

Sharpless and Muñoz ignore this fact, and the many advances made in
aquaculture over the past decade which have made this possible. They are
stuck in the past and refuse to ignore how the evolution of salmon farming
is making it one of the most sustainable forms of food production

Grant Warkentin,

Communications Officer                                            

Mainstream Canada