Sixty guests had the opportunity to sample land-based, closed containment salmon, which was prepared by renowned chef and culinary consultant Tom Valenti.
The salmon was grown in a land-based closed containment aquaculture facility in West Virginia, using cutting edge technology. The advantage, says Bill Taylor, President of ASF, is that closed containment aquaculture eliminates the interaction of farmed salmon and the environment.
“With the added sustainability factors for land-based operations, including virtually 100 per cent water recycling, no dumping of waste on the ocean floor, no escapes to interact with wild populations in our rivers, reduced pesticide and antibiotic use, and no interaction of these chemicals with wild fish or the marine environment, the market appeal for closed containment salmon is significant.”
While the environmental advantages of land-based aquaculture are indisputable, critics have argued that closed containment salmon will be less palatable to consumers, compared to sea-farmed salmon. Having now prepared and served closed containment salmon at the Yale Club, Chef Tom Valenti says otherwise.
“People are largely accustomed to eating farmed raised Atlantic salmon, and the nature of it has become a very consistent product. Does that product have spectacular flavor? In my experience, no, but we’re all used to that product. The closed containment salmon that I worked with reminded me more of wild fish, in that its flesh was slightly firmer and slightly leaner. Being raised on land took nothing way from the flavor or texture,” says Mr Valenti.
Having passed the discriminating taste test of Chef Valenti and an elite guest list, which included renowned authors Monte Burke and Hoagy Carmichael, former Chairman of ASF’s Board of Directors and Bangor Daily News publisher, Richard Warren, and ASF Board Member Austin Buck, there is a growing consensus that closed containment aquaculture is the future of salmon farming.
Bill Taylor and ASF are convinced: “The environmental costs of raising salmon in open net pens are becoming too great for consumers to ignore. Moving salmon production out of our coastal marine waters and into land-based facilities makes sense. It’s the best way to guarantee consumers and local economies a sustainable product, well into the future.”
Though ASF’s closed containment facility is in the developmental phase, closed containment salmon farms are popping up in North America and abroad. In Denmark, Canada, and the UK, commercial production has already begun at a handful of closed containment facilities, and experimental commercial production of Atlantic salmon is now being undertaken as far afield as China and France, with more planned in Chile, and western North America.