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Sustaining Wild Salmon Stocks with Aquaculture

Salmonids Welfare Sustainability +4 more

GLOBE - The demand for salmon continues to rise, but at the same time wild fish stocks the world over are depleting. Can aquaculture save the ocean stocks?

According to Salmon of the Americas, an ocean farmed salmon trade association, yes it can. Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food production solutions to help ensure the sustainability of the renewable resource, says the organisation. Currently, approximately 25 per cent of the salmon consumed worldwide has been farm raised.

Salmon of the Americas is an organization representing salmon-producing companies in both North and South America. By offering current, research-supported data on farmed salmon, the organization strives to provide North American consumers with the knowledge they need to enjoy the healthy benefits that salmon offers.

"By 2020, a 23 to 32 million-tonne increase in supply will be required in order to meet the global demand for seafood"
Laura McNaughton of Salmon of the Americas

"Many people are surprised to learn that the consumption of farmed salmon has such a positive impact on wild salmon. In reality, the environmentally friendly practices that salmon fish farms utilize helps ensure the sustainability of the entire salmon species," says Laura McNaughton of Salmon of the Americas.

For several decades, the changes in climate, over-fishing and marine habitat destruction have all played a significant role in the depletion of the Wild Pacific and Atlantic salmon population. The limited wild salmon population combined with the increasing public demand for the fish, has threatened the long-term existence of the species.

However, sustainable farming is being used as a solution to the depleting salmon population. Sustainable farming is farming conducted in a way that minimizes the impact on the marine environment and local species, resulting in a safe, healthy and nutritious product. Additionally, substantial past research has confirmed that ocean farming provides higher mortality rates, as well as less of a negative environmental impact than closed containment farming.

The efforts of the salmon farming industry have helped grow the wild salmon population to a comfortable level to ensure sustainability. The techniques used in salmon ocean farming essentially help with the enhancement of wild salmon hatcheries. The hatcheries release tens of millions of salmon into the wild every year, helping to grow the wild catch numbers to the levels required to sustain wild stocks. Currently, approximately one third of the wild salmon caught began their lives in a controlled hatchery environment. Additionally, prior to being released into the wild, the hatchery salmon are thoroughly inspected to ensure that they enter the wild free from disease.

"It is predicted that by 2020, a 23 to 32 million-tonne increase in supply will be required in order to meet the global demand for seafood. Aquaculture is a sustainable solution to help ensure the existence of the wild salmon species," says McNaughton.