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.
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.
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.
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.