By eating farmed salmon, we hurt ourselves, other animals, and the ocean.
Salmon farms are not contained systems, which means they get all their water “free” from the ocean and all waste generated by the farmed fish and the farm itself runs directly into the surrounding marine environment.
This “free” water and waste disposal means these farms can claim “low environmental” running costs, but at an unthinkable cost to the health and diversity of the whole marine environmental.
Salmon farms threaten our oceans and environment
The entire coastal ecosystem depends on wild salmon, from the ocean to the forests. By harming wild salmon, we are erasing a keystone species that the entire ecosystem relies on for survival.
Predator populations, such as resident orcas and bears are suffering the threat of extinction due to starving from a lack of salmon as a key food source.
Other marine animals can get trapped or displaced by anti-predatory mechanisms deployed by the farms. Wild crustaceans can be killed by the sea lice pesticides used by the farms.
As salmon are carnivorous, salmon farms depend on massive commercial fisheries that kill off larger ratios of forage fish to feed a smaller ratio of salmon, starving many oceans to pollute others.
Salmon farms threaten our communities
The industry makes profit at the cost of coastal communities and businesses around the globe.
First Nations depend on the health and abundance of wild salmon and the marine environment both culturally and as peoples. The decline of wild salmon impacts First Nations access to food, subsistence and cultural practice.
Many of the salmon farms are in direct violation of the United Nations Declaration for Indigenous Peoples, as they are in First Nations unceded territories and infringe upon rights to food, fish and clean water.
More B.C. industries depend on wild salmon than farmed salmon, especially the tourism sector, including whale watching, ecotourism outfitters, local guides and small business.
Farmed salmon threaten wild salmon
Eating farmed salmon directly contributes to the depletion and extinction of wild salmon populations.
Salmon farms are a breeding ground causing the proliferation and transmission of different pathogens, viruses (PRV) and parasites (sea lice) to wild salmon.
Salmon farms are often located along wild salmon migration routes, compromising the fitness and survival of juvenile wild salmon swimming by the farms who haven’t built up any tolerance to the pathogens and sea lice spilling out of the open-net pens. These migration routes may be disrupted when wild salmon are attracted by the farmed salmon feed, never making it to the ocean.
Local wild fish, including herring and juvenile wild salmon are attracted by the feed and in some places by the illegal use of ‘pit-lamping’, becoming trapped within the nets as free food for farmed salmon.
Hatcheries supported by salmon farms and escapes of farmed fish deplete the genetic quality and diversity of wild salmon population.