Historically, the salmon farming industry has been plagued by environmental concerns. It used to be associated with everything from the spread of parasites and diseases to water pollution.
Also, it used to be associated with ecosystem degradation. However, today’s salmon farms are different and about 72% of the world’s salmon harvest is farmed.
Nowadays, Salmon is now a popular food and this is one of the reasons why the industry continues to grow. Today’s farming takes place in large nets in sheltered waters such as fjords or bays.
Read on to find out about the positive changes that have been occurring in the industry.
Higher environmental standards
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The Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) estimates that 600,000 tons, or 60% of the salmon produced by their members, is being produced sustainably.
Today’s salmon farmers know that maintaining local ecosystems is vital to the health of the planet and its human populations, and consumers do, too.
The GSI is aiming for 100% sustainable production. While that sounds like a lofty goal, they’re well on track to meeting it.
Many of the positive changes in the modern salmon farming industry can be traced back to the Aquaculture Stewardship Commission (ASC). This environmental organization certifies only those farms that meet the highest standards. So, GSI’s members must complete rigorous performance assessments of over 500 compliance points.
Sustainable salmon farming requires careful planning and ongoing monitoring. This is important to ensure that it is not negatively impacting the environment. Also, the ASC is committed to tracking the industry’s progress toward meeting those goals.
Conserving local biodiversity
Fish escapes and water pollution used to take a heavy toll on local ecosystems. However, that’s no longer the case at GSI’s ASC-certified farms. ASC certification requires that fish escapes be kept to an absolute minimum.
Also, certified farms must track not just fish escapes but also their farms’ impact on birds, marine mammals, and sensitive habitats.
Furthermore, the farms must also measure water parameters at regular intervals. This is to ensure that they are not releasing pollutants that could negatively impact local biodiversity.
Ensuring the health of farmed salmon is essential to protecting the farmed fish, local marine ecosystems, and human health. Farms must ensure low levels of parasites without using medications prophylactically
Also, farms must ensure high survival rates for their fish. The farmers are also required to source their fish feed from sustainable sources, minimizing the use of wild fish as feed.
Sustainability isn’t just about protecting the environment. It’s also about protecting human health and happiness. So, ASC-certified farms must follow the principles outlined by the International Labour Organization (ILO) to provide safe and equitable working conditions.
That includes regulated working hours and ensuring that all employees earn a decent wage. Social sustainability goes beyond providing for the farmworkers. GSI’s members are also committed to public transparency.
They release data about everything from fish mortality to feed sourcing. Also, they even consult indigenous communities to keep an open dialogue about potential health risks and available resources.
This level of transparency instills trust in ASC-certified salmon farms and lets consumers know where their money is going. The money helps support a sustainable, ecologically, and socially sound new industry, not the polluting farms of yesteryear.
Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword among environmentally conscious consumers. It’s a new way of life that will propel not just fish farming, but all forms of agriculture, forward into a brighter, greener, fairer future.
Consumers who want to do their part can purchase salmon from one of GSI’s many ASC-certified farms. They can also buy from salmon farmers who want to make the right decision. Join this growing movement and get in touch with either organization to find out what they can do.