Author Archives: salmonfarmscience

Don’t believe what we say about salmon feed? Maybe you’ll believe these certified Omega-3 supplements?

We have had many conversations with people about fish feed and sustainability over the years. Most of them have been led to believe that it takes more fish to grow salmon than what you get out of it.

From there, they have been led to conclude that salmon farms are emptying the ocean of small wild fish and threatening the entire food chain.

That’s a big leap, and it’s wrong.

Net producer

The first belief is partially true. Decades ago, when salmon farming first got started, it did take a greater weight of small fish to grow salmon than what was produced.

Decades ago.

It’s amazing to us that in today’s world, where people are so used to things changing rapidly (this year’s iPhone is LIGHTYEARS ahead of last year’s model!) that they can’t think the same way about salmon farming.

It’s changed. A lot.

Salmon feed today contains only half the marine ingredients (wild fish) that it did 10 years ago. Farmed salmon is now a net protein producer: to grow one kilogram of farmed salmon, it takes less than one kilogram of wild fish.

Sustainable anchovy fishery

The second belief is not true.

Salmon feed in BC uses meal and oil from the Peruvian anchovy fishery, which is one of the most sustainably-managed fishery in the world.

The fishery is probably the most important in the world, because the anchovies are the food source for most of the south Pacific Ocean.

The meal and oil produced from the fishery is used to make aquaculture feed, chicken feed, hog feed, pet food, and health supplements.

Sustainable supplements

Fish oil from the Peruvian anchovy fishery is now being used more and more to make Omega-3 supplements. This week, seafood certifier “Friend of the Sea” announced that Bio-Life SPRL had earned FOS’ sustainability certification. From the press release:

Bio-Life distributes Omega 3 gelatine capsules by using fish oil obtained from small pelagics fished in the Southeast Pacific Ocean. The anchovies’ stock in the fishing area is not overexploited according to the national marine institute. The fishery is managed sustainably, following a strict precautionary approach, and highly selective gears are used.

So if you won’t believe what salmon farmers say because we “just want to make money,” maybe you’ll believe supplement makers because they… just want to… make you healthier? And donate all their profits to the Save the Kittens foundation?

Either way, we do congratulate Bio-Life on this certification. Salmon farmers have led the way in responsibly using marine ingredients, and it’s good to see some supplement makers doing the same.

We believe it’s healthier to make oily fish (like farmed salmon) a regular part of your diet than to pop pills, but it’s up to individuals to decide which diet is best for them.

Calling shenanigans — again — on Morton’s junk graph

Alexandra Morton has decided to make 2014 the year of the Salmon Food Scare, and she’s trying as hard as she can to stir up the masses using half-truths and emotion.

She’s no doubt trying to recreate the panic from 2004, when one highly-publicized study was used to suggest farmed salmon was dangerous to human health. Ah the good old days, eh Alex? When the gullible masses would believe anything you said without checking your claims? Must be tough these days, judging by the “DONATE NOW” button on every one of your websites. 

For a good overview of how that 2004 panic all shook out, including an enlightening look at the millions of dollars invested in slagging farmed salmon, we recommend you read this opinion piece by Vivian Krause.  

Oh, and by the way, there’s no reason to be concerned about dioxins or PCBs in any food sold in North America. None.

Eat a balanced diet, get some exercise and be excellent to each other and you’re shiny.

But that’s not stopping Morton, who knows how to play on people’s fears like a cheap fiddle.

A while ago we blogged about a ridiculous graph she is using to try and claim that farmed salmon contains dangerous levels of dioxins.

Apparently, ashamed to have been caught in the act of deliberately misrepresenting the facts, she has revised this graph with an explanation in the fine print on her new website. She says:

Please note the source data for salmon is provided in pg/g wet weight, while the other values were provided in pg/g fat. NIFES reports farmed salmon is 15.6% fat and so the conversion to pg/g fat = 41.6

Yeah, no. This is just stupid, Alex.

Wet weight is a common distinction made in weighing fish, because so much fish sold is smoked, cured, salted or dried. Wet weight is merely a measurement of fish with the water content in, i.e. before being processed. The non-fish products on this list are always weighed with their water content included: their default measurement is wet weight.

What you’re doing here is like assuming that if your car can go 160 km/h before the governor kicks in, and the speed limit is 80 km/h, it should only take you half an hour to get where you’re going.

But since you aren’t inclined to provide people with facts, we’ll do it for you.

Here’s a comparison of the limits on dioxins in food set by the EU, versus the amounts that are actually in said food.

dioxin_limits_vs_actual

Facts hurt, don’t they Alex. There’s no reason to avoid any of these foods because of dioxins.

Want to check our math? Feel free. Here’s the data table we used to make this graph, complete with comprehensive citations.. Which is more than activists like Morton will give you.

Oh, and by the way, if the anonymity on our blog bothers you? Feel free to check all the links in the document above and retrace our steps. Thinking for yourself: does a body good.

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