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Thursday, November 19, 2015

U.S. retailers begin taking farmed fish off their shelves as antibiotic overuse destroys fish farming industry



The biggest seller of organic foods has decided to greatly reduce the number of antibiotic-treated salmon it purchases from Chile, a move that's expected to a deliver a huge financial blow to the aquaculture industry.

Costco recently announced that they will no longer be buying the majority of its salmon from Chile, the world's second largest producer of the fish, following an increase in consumer awareness regarding the dangers associated with the widespread use of antibiotics.

The extensive use of human drugs on farmed animals, including fish, is contributing to an increase in superbugs, or microorganisms that have grown resistant to antibiotics, posing a severe threat to humans, as these types of infectious diseases are more difficult to treat.

Costco drastically cuts farmed salmon purchases from Chile

Previously purchasing about 90 percent of its salmon from Chile, the membership-only warehouse says it will now buy just 40 percent from the South American exporter as they look to Norway (the world's largest salmon producer) to supply the majority of their demand.

Over the last few years, Wal-Mart, Wegmans and Safeway have also reduced purchases of Chilean salmon.

For eight years, Chile has been struggling to contain the spread of a virus that is killing millions of fish; in response to this and widespread bacterial disease, Chilean farmers have turned to antibiotics in order to keep their fish stock alive despite unsanitary conditions. In 2008, Chile used nearly 350 times more antibiotics on its farmed salmon than Norway, its chief competitor.

Industry officials say this is because Norway has developed vaccines to protect theirsalmon against illnesses, a development that Chile has been unable to achieve due to a lack of funding.

Under a new "information access law," Chile's government, for the first time, revealed information detailing its use of antibiotics in salmon production following a request by the environmental group Oceana.

While the high usage of drugs raised alarm, the industry defended its practices, claiming that the antibiotics are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is the only method available to fight fish-borne illnesses including rickettsia.

Several years ago, however, three Chilean salmon-farming companies were caught using a number of drugs not approved by the FDA, some of which include the antibiotic flumequine, oxolinic acid and the pesticide emamectin benzoate, according to

The illness plaguing millions of salmon, rickettsia, is caused by a parasitic bacteria known as SRS which is carried by sea lice that causes skin lesions and hemorrhaging in infected fish, resulting in the swelling of their kidneys and spleen, which eventually kills them. The disease was first reported in Chile in 1989.

Environmental groups blame unsanitary conditions and cramped pens as "super lice" infect marine life

The environmental group Food & Water Watch says[PDF] ocean aquaculture, "the mass production of fish in large, floating net pens or cages in the sea — has often led to environmental and other disasters in the countries where it has been practiced commercially."

When farmed fish escape into wild, it's a major cause for concern as they pose an enormous threat to wild fish due to the diseases they carry.

Unsanitary and cramped living conditions allow disease to run rampant among farmed fish (similar to factory farms on land), making them more susceptible to pancreatic and amoebic gill disease, infectious salmon anemia (ISA) and an increase in sea lice, a destructive parasite commonly found in highly stocked net pens.

Sea lice has also become resistant to pesticides, allowing them to morph into "super lice," killing both captive and wild fish.

Despite assurances that farmed fish wouldn't survive in the wild, they've been identified in more than 80 rivers in British Columbia. More than 500,000 farmed fish escapes occurred in 2009, according to Norwegian farming statistics, including cod, halibut, salmon and trout.

It's also feared that farmed fish, which have minimal genetic diversity due to inbreeding, may mate with wild fish and over time cause them to lose "natural traits that help them survive in the wild."

Friday, April 17, 2015

Did David Suzuki prevaricate about PCBs in farmed salmon? And if so, WHY?

"There is good science in the campaign of course.  All campaigns

at the David Suzuki Foundation begin with good science."

- Dr. David Suzuki

This post is based on a paper that I wrote in 2010, titled Research on Contaminants in Farmed Salmon: Science or Marketing? A shorter version was published in The Financial Post David Suzuki's Fish Story.

Canada has the largest coastline in the world and we're right next door to the world's largest seafood market: the United States. If there's one industry that Canada should be developing, it's aquaculture. Northern B.C. and Nova Scotia, the places where fish farming could provide hundreds of jobs, are some of the poorest parts of Canada.

Aquaculture avoids the worst risks of commercial fishing, such as over-fishing and by-catch. Yet, ironically, the biggest obstacle facing the aquaculture industry is opposition from environmentalists. In British Columbia, a "war on fish farmers" has been declared. More than 20,000 people signed a petition to close salmon farms.

"Don't buy farmed salmon ANYWHERE. Phone your local hospitals and find out if farmed salmon is served to patients," says a brochure from the David Suzuki Foundation.

"Its poison!" David Suzuki told a conference in Toronto. He wouldn't feed farmed salmon to a child, he said. In Australia, David Suzuki told an audience that farmed salmon is "full of toxic chemicals."

A few years ago, Global Assessment of Organic Contaminants in Farmed Salmon, a study by Ronald Hites et al., triggered a worldwide scare about contaminants in farmed salmon. The Hites study found that levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were eight-fold higher in farmed Atlantic salmon than in Pacific salmon.

If the eight-fold difference had been between 0.5 parts per million (ppm) and 4.0 ppm, the findings would have been consequential to human health. However, the eight-fold difference was between 0.0366 ppm and 0.0048 ppm. Since the tolerable level for PCBs in fish is 2.0 ppm, the eight-fold difference is inconsequential. Nonetheless, in a newswire that dismayed scientists, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) reported “Farmed Salmon More Toxic Than Wild.” Following suit, the media reported the Hites study with alarming headlines worldwide.

In the wake of the Hites study and its international publicity by environmental organizations, bad press about farmed salmon tripled for about two years, according to an an Idaho University study. Ninety percent of the news items mentioned cancer risks and yet the actual research findings didn't indicate any such risks whatsoever.

The Role of the David Suzuki Foundation

Pure Salmon NY Ad PCBsMuch to the chagrin of the public health community, in publicizing the Hites study, environmental organizations - including the David Suzuki Foundation - explicitly targeted pregnant women with the flawed message that farmed salmon should be avoided because of PCBs.  The poster shown at the left is by the Pure Salmon Campaign of which the David Suzuki Foundation was a member.

The Hites study was a follow-up to a study from the David Suzuki Foundation in 2002. Even before that study was published, David Suzuki sent a form letter to thousands of supporters - including the author of this blog. David Suzuki's letter began, “This may be one of the most unusual ‘Thank you’ letters you’ve ever received, but here goes. I want to say thank you for helping me to uncover the fact that B.C. farmed salmon is heavily contaminated with PCBs and other toxins." "I really do mean Thank You,” wrote David Suzuki.

The problem is, David Suzuki didn't uncover the "fact" that he said he did. His study only had eight fish. Mercury levels were actually higher in the wild salmon than in the farmed but that's meaningless because such a small study isn't representative of either farmed or wild salmon.  This raises what I believe is a fair question:  why did David Suzuki falsely report that he had uncovered the "fact" that B.C. farmed salmon is heavily contaminated with PCBs and other toxins?  Was this an honest error?  Or did David Suzuki prevaricate about PCBs in farmed salmon?  And if so, why?

The Suzuki study came on the heels of market research by SeaWeb, conducted in the spring of 2001. A few months later, Pew made the first of several grants for the Hites study and on the very same day, Pew granted $181,000 to the David Suzuki Foundation.

David Suzuki's research about contaminants in farmed salmon was funded by the Lazar Foundation, a pro-Alaskan foundation based in Portland, Oregon. And yet, the Lazar Foundation says that it is focused on Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska - not British Columbia.  Lazar also explicitly states that it does not fund work on "toxics" so why did the Lazar Foundation pay for a study of contaminants in farmed salmon? Lazar also paid the David Suzuki Foundation $12,500 for "legal action challenging the expansion" of salmon farming in B.C. Lazar also funded market research by SeaWeb about farmed vs. wild salmon.

SeaWeb's market research found that the most compelling reason why people might avoid a certain fish is fear of contaminants. Sadly, the least important factor was whether the species is over-fished.

SeaWeb and Environmental Defense have been saying that the maximum number of safe meals of farmed salmon is half a meal per month for adults and older children and for younger children, zero meals. Who’s going to feed their child half a meal because half is safe and half isn’t?

"The avoidance of modest fish consumption due to confusion regarding risks and benefits could result in thousands of deaths every year due to cardiovascular disease, and the suboptimal neurodevelopment in young children," Harvard scientists warn.

At the University of British Columbia, scientists found that Vancouver-born infants of well-educated mothers are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. The infants' eyesight was compromised, their brain development may have been adversely affected. This situation is not helped by the fact that Canada's most trusted environmentalist has been giving pregnant women faulty advice to avoid farmed salmon. The truth is, farmed salmon is higher in omega-3 fatty acids and lower in mercury than any other fish.

The Packard foundation paid the David Suzuki Foundation $762,600 for Pacific Salmon Forests, a project which produced a brochure titled, "Why You Shouldn't Eat Farmed Salmon."

In a series of open letters since 2007, David Suzuki has been asked whether the bad press that his foundation has generated about salmon farming is part of a "demarketing" campaign to prop up demand for Alaskan salmon. He hasn't replied but 23 press releases and negative articles about farmed salmon were quietly removed from his foundation's web-site. Nevertheless, the campaign against farmed salmon rages on. In 2010, the Moore foundation paid the David Suzuki Foundation $329,525 for "salmon market standards" and in November of 2012, Moore granted a further $496,850.

The Hites Study: A Closer Look

The same day that the Hites study was published, the Alaskan Governor issued a press release. He said, “It is important to note that this study is not telling people not to eat fish. It is telling them to eat more wild Alaskan salmon.”

David Carpenter, a co-author of the Hites study, told the press, “We hope it does not turn people away from fish, we hope it turns people away from farmed salmon.” Mr. Carpenter also told the media “women should avoid eating farmed salmon at all, from the day they are born through menopause.” He also said “one should avoid farmed salmon like the plague," and "Our results indicate elevated cancer risk from one meal (of farmed salmon) or even less per month.”

The problem is, Mr. Carpenter’s claims are way out of line with the actual findings of the Hites study. Furthermore, Agriculture Canada, the U.S. Institute of Medicine and the U.K. authorities advise eating salmon - farmed or wild - on a weekly basis.

"There are no consistent differences between wild and farmed fish both in terms of safety and nutritional contribution," says the European Food Safety Authority.

At Idaho University, Dr. Ronald Hardy estimated that the average yearly PCB intake is about 30 ug from farmed salmon, 200 ug from pork, 300 ug from poultry, 700 ug from milk, and 2,400 ug from beef. Evidently, farmed salmon is not a significant source of PCB exposure compared to other foods. Dr. Hardy concluded, “Even if Americans doubled their intake of farmed salmon, the contribution of this consumption on total yearly PCB intake would still be 40–80 times less than the amount from beef.

The Hites study was published in the prestigious journal SCIENCE, the flagship of the AAAS. At the time, the Editor-in-Chief of SCIENCE was Donald Kennedy, a former president of Stanford University, and a trustee of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The current Editor-in-Chief of SCIENCE, Bruce Alberts, is a  trustee of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Since 2000, Packard and Moore have granted more than $130-million to B.C. organizations, none of them favourable to salmon farming. Of that, at least, $12-million went to the members of the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform which runs a demarketing campaign called Farmed and Dangerous. This campaign against farmed salmon is based on research about PCBs and sea lice (Krkosek et al. 2007), conveniently published in the journal SCIENCE while the Editor-in-Chief of SCIENCE was a Packard trustee.

Packard has paid a staggering $83 million since 2000 for various projects to sway market share towards wild fish and away from the competition: imported, farmed fish. The Marine Sciences web-portal of the AAAS has been funded by Packard.

The Hites study and its publicity was paid for with $5.5-million from the Pew Charitable Trusts; $2.5 million was granted to the State University of New York and $2.5 million to the Tides Center, part of the Tides USA network. Pew also granted $140,000 to Mr. Carpenter and $300,000 to Daniel Pauly at the University of British Columbia. For a study of its kind, a $5.5 million budget was unusual. The $440,000 for publicity was highly unusual.

As per Pew's specifications, the Hites study compared farmed Atlantic salmon and wild Pacific salmon. Because wild Atlantic salmon and farmed Pacific salmon were excluded, comparisons among the same species of salmon were avoided. In essence, the study compared apples to oranges.

Had the Hites study compared wild vs. farmed Atlantic salmon, or wild vs. farmed Pacific king ("chinook") salmon, it would likely have found higher levels of contaminants in the wild fish, a conclusion precisely the opposite of what was spread around the world in scary headlines.

The Pew Charitable Trusts states that it holds itself to the highest standards of integrity, transparency and effectiveness. And yet, when asked how the Tides spent that $2.5 million, Pew staff refused to say, citing the advice of its legal department. 

"Tell the truth," says the front cover of Pew's annual report for 2010. That same year, I appealed to the Pew Charitable Trusts, in an open letter, to please clear up the confusion and controversy stemming from flagrantly unsubstantiated claims about PCBs in farmed salmon, made by Pew-funded scientists on the basis of Pew's $5.5 million dollar study. The CEO of the Pew Charitable Trusts replied indifferently, "it is important to note that this research is rigorously peer-reviewed and published in prestigious journals such as SCIENCE. It was therefore hard to understand the claim in your open letter that the findings are "flagrantly unsubstantiated." Too hard to admit maybe, but surely the CEO of a $4.5 billion dollar foundation should know when a food contains merely 3 percent of the acceptable level of an omnipresent contaminant like PCBs, there is no basis to say that that particular food should be avoided because of PCBs.

In the London Times, Magnus Linklater called the Hites study “a sorry saga of flawed science, selective research and hidden commercial bias." "That it was allowed into the pages of the apparently respectable journal SCIENCE is inexplicable,”wrote Linklater. 

Sandy Szwarc wrote in a newsletter of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, “An ulterior motive may be at work.… Facing competition from aquaculture, the wild salmon industries of California, British Columbia, and Alaska have allied themselves with environmental groups to promote wild salmon as the healthier and environmentally-friendly choice.”

Facing stiff competition from farmed salmon, the value of Alaskan salmon collapsed over the 1990s from a peak of $1.2-billion to only $125-million. Since 2002, Alaskan salmon prices have tripled. This remarkable improvement was due in part to Alaska's $50 million Salmon Revitalization program. However, much of that money went to 2,600 fishers and 63 municipalities. That won't have done much to improve salmon prices.

After Alaskan salmon prices improved, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute reported, "The infusion of dollars wasn't the sole driver; we need to be honest here. It wasn't the only thing that changed market conditions. There was some bad press for farmed salmon and there was the health issue and people wanting more seafood in their diets. All these things kind of came together like the perfect storm."

On the day before the Hites study was actually published, press releases were issued by a trio of Packard-funded environmental organizations, including SeaWeb, Environmental Defense and the David Suzuki Foundation. SeaWeb calls wild salmon "the white truffle of seafood" and has a long history of promoting Alaskan salmon. Environmental Defense provides recipes for Alaskan salmon. Since 2000, SeaWeb and Environmental Defense have been paid $23-million and $21-million, respectively, by the Packard foundation.

SeaWeb was also paid by the Moore Foundation to co-ordinate an "antifarming campaign," including "science messages" and "earned media." After questions were raised about this grant, it was quietly re-written by the Moore Foundation, along with three other grants for a total of $3.6 million for the "antifarming campaign."

In my first letter to David Suzuki, back in April of 2007, I concluded by asking Dr. Suzuki a series of questions about his foundation's involvement in the U.S.-funded "antifarming campaign" against farmed salmon. I asked Dr. Suzuki (see page 25) whether his foundation is or was one of the "antifarming ENGOs" and whether it participated in the "standardization of messaging" and the "co-ordination of media" through SeaWeb, based in Maryland.  Dr. Suzuki did not answer my question but several months later, I discovered that a document which shows that, in fact, the sea lice researchers that the David Suzuki Foundation funded at the University of Alberta had a "research partnership" with SeaWeb. Not only the Moore Foundation funded SeaWeb for an "antifarming campaign" involving "science messages,"  Moore also funded the sea lice research itself.  This another information ultimately led me to file a formal complaint of apparent scientific misconduct with the University of Alberta about the sea lice controversy that brought the salmon farming industry to its knees. For more about my complaint of apparent scientific misconduct, please click here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Why Farmed Salmon? Why does anyone eat farmed salmon?
Why Farmed Salmon?
Why does anyone eat farmed salmon? 

Drug resistance in sea lice: a threat to salmonid aquaculture.

Sea lice are copepod ectoparasites with vast reproductive potential and affect a wide variety of fish species. The number of parasites causing morbidity is proportional to fish size. Natural low host density restricts massive parasite dispersal. However, expanded salmon farming has shifted the conditions in favor of the parasite. Salmon farms are often situated near wild salmonid migrating routes, with smolts being particularly vulnerable to sea lice infestation. In order to protect both farmed and wild salmonids passing or residing in the proximity of the farms, several measures are taken. Medicinal treatment of farmed fish has been the most predictable and efficacious, leading to extensive use of the available compounds. This has resulted in drug-resistant parasites occurring on farmed and possibly wild salmonids.


New Brunswick salmon farm in quarantine after virus detected

A conservation group is criticizing federal and provincial agencies for not publicizing a preliminary test showing the presence of a potentially deadly salmon virus at a New Brunswick aquaculture operation.

The Atlantic Salmon Federation says it heard on Monday that a strain of infectious salmon anemia was reported by an aquaculture company located along the Bay of Fundy.
The virus can be fatal to fish but doesn’t cause harm to human health.

Jonathan Carr, the federation’s director of research, says he went to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website but didn’t find a report of the incident.
“Without the public knowing what’s going on, a lot of rumours and wildfires can happen,” he said in an interview.

A spokeswoman for the New Brunswick government said in an email there was a suspected case of virulent infectious salmon anemia detected last month.
“The province and the CFIA are aware and are working collaboratively on this,” Anne Bull said. “We are in regular contact with the operator, who is co-operating fully on the matter. Increased surveillance and sampling efforts have been put in place by New Brunswick’s chief aquaculture veterinarian.”

Pam Parker, director of the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association, an industry group, said in a telephone interview that in March a fish in one cage in a New Brunswick salmon farm was found to be positive for infectious salmon anemia during a preliminary test.
She said the company didn’t wait for a confirmation of a final diagnosis by the CFIA and proceeded to remove all of the fish from the pen and notified the provincial and federal regulators of their actions.

Parker said other salmon farmers in the area were notified and the affected farm is in quarantine. She said she didn’t know the name of the affected salmon farm.
The CFIA was asked for comment Wednesday but did not provide any.

Carr said he’s glad that the affected fish were killed quickly after the outbreak but he feels more information should have been released after the preliminary tests.
“It’s prudent when you have cases like this to get this out to the public.”
Parker said the regulations and the process are rigorous.

“We don’t understand what the concern is,” she said. “The system is working. There is more transparency in salmon farming than any other food-producing sector.”

Monday, March 2, 2015

Is Organic Seafood a Scam?

USDA organic aquaculture label could hit grocery shelves in 2017, government says.

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana — The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is closing in on a long-awaited organic certification standard for aquaculture, with the eco-label the industry has been pining for possibly appearing on farm-raised seafood in supermarkets by 2017.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Is "Wild" Norwegian Salmon Credible?

Is "Wild" Norwegian Salmon Credible?  Does Norway even have wild salmon?  A friend sent me a facebook message during his dinner the other asking me about Norwegian Salmon and if it is wild.  Was he about to get ripped off?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

How Norway Is Killing Your Sushi

In a clean environment, fish is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Most fish is rich in protein, vitamin D, and omega 3 – all essential nutrients for losing weight, increasing performance, and being bulletproof! Unfortunately, because of the Norwegian-led fish-farming industry and modern pollution, its no longer safe to assume you’re eating a nutritious, disease and poison-free fish… unless you know exactly where it came from.
Long story short: Avoid farmed fish the same way you avoid industrial red meat, insist on wild-caught sockeye salmon, and boycott Norwegian fish products because their global fish farms have killed 90% of local healthy salmon populations, including the ones 15 minutes from my house. Bastards!

Why wild caught salmon are a godsend, while farm-raised fish are a curse

Wild caught sockeye salmon is one of the most Bulletproof foods:
  1. One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids – Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to a healthy diet because the body is incredibly bad at manufacturing them on its own, and we know that omega-3 fatty acids upgrade the body by reducing inflammation, helping to reduce the impact of excess omega-6, improving blood circulation, optimizing blood pressure, and healing scar tissue.1
  2. Great source of protein – Wild caught fish provides high-quality, complete proteins that contain all the necessary amino acid building blocks to build and replace protein in the body. Sockeye salmon actually has slightly more protein than other fish like haddock. Wild caught salmon also tend to have less fat striations compared to farmed salmon because wild caught fish are healthier, fitter fish overall (See picture above).2
  3. Highest amounts of antioxidants – Many of the plankton that sockeye salmon eat are bright red (an indicator of high antioxidant content), which is why sockeye salmon have such a bright, deep orange color compared to other salmon (See picture above).3
  4. Lowest mercury count – Wild caught sockeye salmon have the lowest mercury levels than any other salmon. Its mercury content is extremely low because it lives for a short time in mostly fresh water, and unlike other types of salmon, it eats only plankton – not other fish, which would expose it to the mercury that those fish absorbed.4
  5. It’s NOT farmed-raised fish – To AVOID mercury, other toxins, and unknown viruses as much as possible, it’s important to stay AWAY from farm-raised fish and choose to buy fish that was caught in the wild.
Farm-raised fish are a curse on salmon species, food supplies, ecosystems, and potentially our own health. Here’s why5:
  1. Fed soy and poultry litter – Farmed salmon in particular is fed soy and rendered poultry litter (that’s used for henhouse bedding, complete with chicken manure!). Farm-raised fish are also fed conventionally grown grains that contain harmful pesticides and mycotoxins and are probably GMOs.
  2. Universally lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids – Like commercial beef, farm-raised fish is often raised on grain feed. This results in the omega-3 fatty acids becoming malformed and mostly devoid of benefit.
  3. Given high doses of pesticides and antibiotics – A lot like concentrated animal-feeding operations (CAFOs), thousands of farm-raised fish are crammed into pens, which leads to the growth of diseases and parasites that require antibiotics and pesticides.
  4. Disease carrying monsters! – On offshore fish farms, nitrogen and phosphorous from feed and waste lead to algae blooms that create breeding grounds for bacteria, viruses, and diseases. These algae blooms almost always contaminate surrounding waters where native or wild fish live.
Norwegian companies are to blame for disappearance of 90% BC’s wild salmon

In the last decade in British Columbia (where I live), the count of wild sockeye salmon has fallen 90%. These native sockeye salmon are dying mysteriously before they even have the opportunity to spawn. This pre-spawn mortality is epidemic and is basically killing an entire keystone species of salmon. Over 10 million fish have vanished without a trace.6

While investigating this mysterious travesty, researchers and biologists like Alexandra Morton discovered that BC’s wild salmon are testing positive for dangerous European salmon viruses associated with salmon farming worldwide – most notably in Norwegian fish-farming companies.

In 1990, Norwegian fish farming companies put clusters of fish farms all along the narrow channels of BC’s Fraser River, right through wild salmon migration routes, not far from my house. The only salmon run that hasn’t drastically declined is the Harrison Sockeye Salmon because these runs of salmon do NOT go through the fish-farm-filled migration route.
In 1992, the mysterious decline in BC’s native salmon counts began its drastic fall. These close dates are far from a coincidence. Native fish that swim through the channels lined with ecologically destructive Norwegian owned fish farms, are getting infected with at least three newly discovered exotic European viruses!
Because these Norwegian-owned fish farms actually have the right to not allow any virus testing of their fish (corporate evils at its finest), a local dedicated researcher actually had to sit outside one of these fish farms and wait for a bald eagle to swoop in the fish pen, snatch up a fish, and drop it outside the farm so it could be tested for these European viruses (talk about the irony of freedom and red tape). Without surprise, the farmed fish tested positive for a lethal European virus called Piscine Reovirus. When infected with this virus, fish’s hearts basically turn to mush, sabotaging the fish’s ability stay alive long enough to swim up river and spawn.
Piscine Reovirus, ISA (or salmon flu), and Salmon Alphavirus (a virus that causes pancreas disease in fish – a known problem in Norway after having to kill entire farms when infected fish were found) have all been found in Norwegian-owned fish farms and are now killing BC’s native salmon. These lethal viruses are among just a few internally reportable diseases and the Norwegian Companies are not only NOT reporting these disease, they’re refusing to even test for them in their fish farms.
The local fish here are infected with the viruses, and as you’ll see in the documentary below, there is a cover-up and an attempt by industry to prevent testing of local, wild fish. When the fish are tested, they are literally swimming with the viruses. Viruses, but not bacteria, survive the freezing process used for sushi grade farmed salmon. No one knows what these species do to humans.
These Norwegian Companies are killing off the entire species of sockeye salmon in British Columbia, which will starve the bald eagles and bears and an entire ecosystem. Norway is a proud country based on sound social and economic values, but this negligent slaying of native fish is as big of a deal as the Japanese killing whales.
If you care about the environment and the health of our seas, you should refuse to purchase Norwegians products until their government holds the giant Norwegian fish conglomerate companies responsible for the damage they cause worldwide.
This is unspeakably evil not because sushi supplies might go down or something, but because wild salmon in Canada and Alaska are the foundational species to entire ecosystems, food chains, and native cultures. Without native salmon, there are no more bald eagles, no more bears, no more Pacific Northwest as we know it. These salmon bring nutrition back from the ocean and entire ecosystems depend on them. Wild salmon are also a livelihood for the First Nations in Canada and create an entire economy for a lot of other people. With the destruction of wild sockeye salmon, local people are paying the price while Norwegian companies are making profits. If you know about the history of the treatment of Canada’s First Nations tribes, this recent development is even more of a travesty.

What can be done and where to find good salmon

These fish farms are another horrible experiment gone wrong in the corporate food production system and it isn’t going to be monitored by the companies themselves. To take the reins on this situation, consumers must start paying attention to where food comes from because what we eat affects the quality of the entire planet.
If you don’t have time to research where your fish came from, you can at least rely on this rule of thumb: Unless the package says “Wild,” the fish was probably farm-raised and probably not safe to eat (note: “fresh” is not “wild”). With that said, remember that you don’t have to eat meat all the time. If you can’t find wild caught fish, or grass-fed beef, it’s best to resist the temptation to buy farm-raised conventional crap, and just settle on eating a lot of vegetables with grass-fed butter, and maybe some eggs or grass-fed protein powder like Upgraded Whey or Upgraded Collagen. You can get by without protein every day. You’ll be fine.
If your local wild caught salmon options are limited but you still want to reap the incredible health benefits of eating wild caught salmon, there are a couple of options. Alderspring Ranch, the same place I’ve been getting my grass-fed organic beef for nearly a decade, now has Wild By Nature Copper River Sockeye Salmon from Alaska. Food and health lovers in the know recognize Copper River sockeye as the very best. These fish are renowned for their firm rich red flesh, and for their high omega-3 content. So order some sockeye with your next grass fed beef order! Both are amazing.
*Receive 15% off 1 or 3 piece sockeye salmon filets from Alderspring Ranch with this coupon code:
Coupon expires at Midnight on June 2nd!
For more on this story, check out the documentary: Salmon Confidential

Salmon Documentaries