It seems that more and more chefs are pushing Faroe Island Salmon. The Faroe Islands, located north of Scotland and east of Norway market themselves as a great source of salmon. A wise consumer however, with even a small amount of investigation, will discover that the salmon being touted is farm raised: not wild. They claim sustainable, clean, and pure farm raised salmon. Upon closer inspection, the more I investigate, the more I notice this salmon appearing in the market place at both national and local levels. The increased market presence of this particular salmon seems to have been given a boost by a few nationally and locally recognized chefs.
If you know anything about me or Aroma Thyme then you know we oppose farm-raised salmon. There are many reasons for this. I encourage you to investigate further yourself by checking out the articles and videos that I’ve compiled on my new website: www.NoFarmedSalmon.com. You’ll find documentation covering salmon from farms worldwide.
I acknowledge that salmon farming has come a long way since the 70s, but there are certain elements to open-pen salmon farming that may never be acceptable. Of course, industry proponents say otherwise, while the anti-farmed salmon advocacy groups are filled with those living in communities that are directly and negatively impacted by salmon farms. These community members include scientists, marine biologists, local fisherman and others who may rely upon their local waters for a living.
Again, while in some areas salmon farming practices have moved towards a “sustainable” process, most if not all salmon farms have major flaws to begin with because the whole notion of salmon farming is really built upon flaws that don’t really have any answers.
Farms make claims regarding how excellent and nutritious their finished product is. Sadly, they don’t tell you what the percentage of die off, how much disease effects how much of their overall population, or where and how the refuse (dead carcasses and fish waste) is dumped. Sea lice, for instance, is something that can cause a great deal of damage in a salmon farm. Sea lice can attach themselves to the fry (baby salmon) before they mature and begin growing scales. When a farm is infected, the issue is not necessarily contained to the farm because most, if not nearly all salmon farms at no truly closed systems, but rather more open. In other words, salmon farm “run-off” will find its way into the local water systems (rivers, lakes, streams, bays, etc...) So, once a farm is infected sea lice can find their way to the local wild salmon population. In British Columbia it is estimated that some 60% of wild salmon have been exposed to sea lice from salmon farms. You’d never know this to be the case based upon the self-proclaimed statement found on the Skuna Bay Salmon Farms’ website, “Another wild salmon save.” The sad reality is that these farms are linked to a decline in wild salmon population.
We all know the oft stated, “You are what you eat.” Salmon farms use fish meal pellets that contain an array of non-natural salmon food. Of course the industry claims how great this food is. It's basically ground up fish stolen out of other fisheries from around the world. Instead of these fish being left to feed the local ecosystem they were born in, they are caught, processed, and then fed to farm raised salmon. It can take up to four pounds of wild fish to grow one pound of salmon on a farm. This is yet another major flaw of the so-called sustainable farm raised salmon industry. This is clearly a net deficit not just in the food supply chain, but in other resources as well.
Fish meal isn’t the only thing going into the diet of farm raised salmon. The industry promotes the notion of an “advanced diet” for their salmon. Other item that can find their way into a salmon’s diet is soy, and since soy is used, it is very likely that more often than not it will be genetically modified soy. Additionally, there are farms in Europe that now feed farm raised salmon chicken and pork by-products.
Tell me – on what planet do salmon normally eat soy, chicken and pork? Seriously?!?! Here too I encourage you to do a bit of research to learn what is meant by the term “by-products”. Trust me when I say, you will not be happy in the least.
Let’s return to the Faroe Islands salmon. Essentially since the beginning of farm raised salmon there have been reports of the significant contamination on these farms. Recently, scientists have issued devastating warnings about the dangerous levels of toxic chemicals found in the salmon from Scotland and the Faroe Islands. So serious are these claims that warnings have been issued to NOT eat more than THREE servings per year. With a warning like this, why would you even put one serving into your body?
Researchers discovered that highest concentrations of toxic industrial pollutants (PCBS and dioxins) and agricultural pesticides (toxaphene and dieldrin) in salmon came from the Faroe Islands and Scotland. It was surmised that the fish feed contained oil recovered from the ground-up bodies of tiny sea life harvested in the North Atlantic - a dumping ground for decades for manmade toxins. It was also discovered that fish from Norway performed badly as well. Dr. Foran has also been heard to say that after his involvement with this study, his family would never again eat farmed raised salmon.
Don Staniford of the Salmon Farm Protest Group said, "This scientific study blows out of the water the myth that farmed salmon is safe, nutritious and healthy.”
The study did say some of the less contaminated farm-raised salmon comes from Washington and Oregon State.
The safest type of salmon to eat is wild salmon. Further still, look for only Alaskan salmon. In fact Alaska does not allow fish farming so there is no worrying or guessing if it is wild from Alaska.
With all of this data so readily available on the Internet it is beyond me why chefs push farm raised salmon from the Faroe Islands or anywhere else for that matter. When you see the words “farm raised salmon, Faroe Islands, Scottish, etc…” prominently displayed on the menus of the restaurants that you patronize, remember that you would be best to select something else to eat.
As already stated, we recommend wild Alaskan Salmon when you chose to eat salmon.