Wild Salmon - Best Before 2025

  • Posted by howies
  • 23 October 2008

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Fish farms choose a salmon's colour pink by feeding it different pellets.

There must have been a time when Salmon Fish Farms seemed like a good idea - make salmon more available and more affordable to everyone.

But sometimes ideas that look good on paper don't always work so well in pr-actise. And the fish farms (mainly up in Scotland) don't work in practise either. The phrase 'For every credit there is a debit', is especially true here.

Fish farms are contribut-ing to the collapse of the world's fish stocks. There are a number of reasons for this. One reason is that huge quantities of wild fish are being scooped up and ground into meal to feed the farmed fish. Indeed it can take up to 3 tonnes of wild fish to produce a single tonne of farmed fish.

Another is they poison shellfish stocks and create toxic algal blooms around the coast which threaten the survival of wild salmon stocks. There is also a prob-lem with sea lice in fish-farmed salmon and how the lice are kept under control. There have been cases of fish salmon found with levels of Ivermectin, a banned Neuroinsecticide, four times above safe levels.

But the biggest worry is from those farmed fish that have escaped. It is estimated that 500,000 escaped last year. (Last year's catch of wild salmon was the lowest on record) The reason this is such a threat is because these aren't normal salmon. They have been inbred to grow quicker and their genes are weaker. But an even bigger threat will come from genetically engineered salmon. There are companies who have already developed genetically engineered salmon eggs. These eggs become fish whose growth hormones never stop pumping. They reach 'market size' in 18 months. With a wild salmon this should take three years. They are currently awaiting approval.

What happens when one of these escapes into the sea? Well, we don't know. In fact nobody knows. The fish farms are already altering the gene pool but you can only guess what will happen when genetically modified salmon are allowed.

There may well be a time in the near future that there will be no true wild salmon.

Currently there are 340 fish farms in Scotland. But there are plans for many, many more. Given all the real doubt about this way of intensive farming and its many side effects, it would seem sensible to halt any expansion, as they have done in Canada. But the Government has no plans to stop this expansion despite all the concerns. 

Perhaps that's the most Fubar thing of all.

So that explains why the Government gets the Fubar award this year.

Fubar.

Note: Almost every year Sammy the seal (that's what the locals call him) makes the 3 mile journey upstream, swimming from the sea, up the bay and past howies and then past our home, until he reaches the falls at Cenarth where the salmon jump. There he spends a couple of months having lunch and then he swims back. A little bigger than when he arrived.