The Wild Pacific Salmon

There is a modern super hero living in the Broughton Archipelago. But like all things modern, she doesn’t have what the ancients wielded so easily. No swords of fire, no knights around a table, not even the female powers of mother earth.

BC’s largest Marine Park is in trouble. Well, not exactly the park itself, but the Wild Pacific Salmon that should be protected within. These are unique salmon. There are several varieties, occurring only in the Pacific waters. And they are different from the commonly known “farmed (Atlantic) salmon”.

The hero and champion to the Wild Pacific Salmon, in the Broughton Archipelago is no other than Alexandra Morton. Her tireless work to research, quantify and protect the Wild Pacific Salmon from the Atlantic Salmon farming, seems to be a higher calling. Almost the work of an angel.

What’s so bad about fish farming, anyway?

Facts about Atlantic salmon farming:

  • Salmon are carnivorous and are currently fed a meal produced from catching other wild fish and other marine organisms.
  • Salmon farming leads to a high demand for wild forage fish.
  • Salmon require large nutritional intakes of protein, and consequently, farmed salmon consume more fish than they generate as a final product. To produce one pound of farmed salmon, products from several pounds of wild fish are fed to them.
  • As the salmon farming industry expands, it requires more wild forage fish for feed, at a time when 75% of the world’s monitored fisheries are already near to or have exceeded their maximum sustainable yield. The industrial scale extraction of wild forage fish for salmon farming then impacts the survivability of the wild predator fish who rely on them for food.
  • Work continues on substituting vegetable proteins for animal proteins in the salmon diet. Unfortunately, though, this substitution results in lower levels of the highly valued omega-3 fatty acid content in the farmed product.
  • Intensive salmon farming now uses open-net cages, which have low production costs, but have the drawback of allowing disease and sea lice to spread to local wild salmon stocks.

What should we do?

As with anything, become educated and understand what you are eating. Just because everyone is eating CAFO beef, doesn’t make it right. Same thing for farmed Atlantic salmon. It is easiest to find and the cheapest to buy, but what that industry is doing to speed the demise of the Wild Pacific Salmon, should not be allowed to continue.

Not to mention sustainability. Even if you don’t care about what happens to the land that CAFO’s exist on, or the water that Atlantic salmon farms occupy, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that a product requiring more inputs than the value of the output is a flawed process.

Ask for Wild Pacific Salmon at your grocery store and in your local restaurant. If the staff don’t know, don’t buy the farmed stuff instead.

If you take the time to become educated on this topic, you will not turn back. By spreading this message, we will win the battle, alongside Alexandra Morton.

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