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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Why is All Farmed Salmon a Scam

Why is All Farmed Salmon a Scam 
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Fish-farm escapees are weakening Norwegian wild salmon genetics

By Melati Kaye on 10 August 2016 

Farmed salmon escaping from Norwegian aquaculture facilities are mating with wild salmon frequently enough to dilute their genetic stock, according to a recent paper.

  • Norwegian scientists conducted a genetic analysis of 21,562 wild-caught juvenile and adult Atlantic salmon from 147 rivers — a geographical sampling representing three-fourths of Norway’s salmon population.
  • The researchers found genes from farmed salmon in every wild population they tested, and “significant” genetic mixing in nearly half the rivers they sampled.
  • “The extensive genetic introgression documented here poses a serious challenge to the management of farmed and wild Atlantic salmon in Norway and, in all likelihood, in other regions where farmed-salmon escape events occur with regularity,” the authors write in the paper.

Farmed salmon escaping from Norwegian aquaculture facilities are mating with wild salmon frequently enough to dilute their genetic stock, according to a recent paper. As a result the wild salmon have decreased genetic variability, according to the study authors, who are based at Norway’s government-run National Institute for Nature Study. Low genetic variability can make a species more susceptible to disease or even extinction.

Norway is the world’s largest producer of farmed adult Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and broodstock for salmon farms. The first salmon farms were established in Norway and Scotland in 1960.

“Escapes can happen in many ways,” statistician Ola Diserud, one of the study’s first authors, told Mongabay via email. Net pens torn open by storms can free hundreds of thousands of fish. Thousands more get loose in rivers as a result of careless handling by technicians, and the number of smolt or baby salmon lost in “trickle escapes” is “unknown but large,” Diserud said.

The study’s finding that escapees have an “extensive” influence on the genetic makeup of wild populations is somewhat counterintuitive. Farmed salmon are bred for their meat, and the traits companies carefully select for, like size and late reproductive age, would make the fish less fit for survival and spawning in local rivers. (When salmon enter reproduction mode, their flesh turns pale, mushy and flavorless.)

However, Diserud said his research shows that, “the continuous influx of new escapees over years may result in a significant genetic introgression even in high density populations.” Introgression is a diluting of genetic stock that occurs at a population level when animals from one distinct group breed with another — in this case farmed Atlantic salmon interbreeding with wild Atlantic salmon.

A salmon farm in Nordland county, Norway. Photo by Asbjørn Floden via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Diserud’s team’s research drew on a genetic analysis of 21,562 wild-caught juvenile and adult salmon from 147 rivers — a geographical sampling that the authors say represents three-fourths of Norway’s salmon population. The team compared genetic markers from the wild-caught fish against a reference library of genotypes of farmed individuals sourced from three prominent aquaculture companies and wild individuals from all over Norway.

The researchers found that every population they tested had some intermixing. Diserud said that on average, 6.4 percent of genetic material in the sampled fish came from farmed salmon.

The levels of introgression were higher for rivers in regions with many fish farms or a long-established aquaculture industry. In western Norway’s Hordaland County, which the authors dub “one of the two cradles of fish farming,” on average, 42.2 percent of the genetic material in sampled fish came from farmed salmon. This means that the average wild-caught fish in Hordaland County had one parent that originated on a fish farm. In all, the researchers found “significant introgression” in the wild salmon populations of nearly half the rivers they sampled.

Meanwhile, in National Salmon Rivers and National Salmon Fjords, which have protections from salmon farming and other human activities, they found lower levels of introgression: 4.5 percent and 6.4 percent respectively.

Diserud said that the ability of any individual farmed salmon to infiltrate and mate within a wild salmon population depends on the size of the local population and how much time the escapee has in the wild.

“For example, if the salmon escaped early and spent a year or more at sea before entering a river it will be more fit,” he said. Meanwhile, in low-density wild populations, “female farm salmon have easier access to good spawning sites and therefore better egg survival chances; and the farm males will have a better chance for participating in the spawning.”

An atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), at the Atlanterhavsparken aquarium in Ålesund, Norway. Photo by Hans-Petter Fjeld via Wikimedia Commons(CC-BY-SA).
“I think this is a really relevant paper,” said Ivan Arismendi of Oregon State University, who studies the effects of invasive species within stream ecosystems and is unaffiliated with Diserud’s team. “There are several scientific articles about the potential influences of salmon aquaculture escapees, but not in sites where salmonids are native species.”

“The extensive genetic introgression documented here poses a serious challenge to the management of farmed and wild Atlantic salmon in Norway and, in all likelihood, in other regions where farmed-salmon escape events occur with regularity,” Diserud and his co-authors write in the paper.

They go on to say that the Norwegian wild salmon genetic stock will become further weakened “unless substantial reduction of escaped farmed salmon in the wild, or sterilization of farmed salmon, can be achieved.”


Karlsson S., Diserud O. H., Fiske P., Hindar K. (2016). Widespread genetic introgression of escaped farmed Atlantic salmon in wild salmon populations. International Council for the Exploration of the Sea Journal of Marine Science doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsw121.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Farmed Salmon Producer Misleads Customers with Wild on the Website

Farmed Salmon Producer Misleads Customers with Wild on the Website 
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Wild Salmon Fraud. Does Cafetal Social Club Really Have Wild Salmon

Wild Salmon Fraud. Does Cafetal Social Club Really Have Wild Salmon 

Are Farmed Salmon One of the Most Toxic Foods in the World?

Nicolas Daniel’s documentary “Fillet-Oh-Fish” takes a critical look at the fish industry, featuring exclusive footage from fish farms and factories across the globe. Many still have a rather romanticized view of fishing, but when it comes to large-scale food production, the picture is actually rather grim.

Today’s fisheries are faced with a range of severe problems, from overfishing to chemical pollution and genetic mutation from toxic exposures. As noted by the producers of the film, “through intensive farming and global pollution, the flesh of the fish we eat has turned into a deadly chemical cocktail.”

Despite that, the fish business is booming, in part due to efforts to keep the dirty underbelly of modern fisheries from public sight.

Aquaculture promotes itself as a sustainable solution to overfishing. But in reality, fish farms actually cause more problems than they solve. There’s really little difference, in terms of environmental pollution, between land-based feedlots and water-based ones.

Farmed Salmon — One of the Most Toxic Foods in the World?

The film starts off in Norway, looking at the chemicals used in fish farms. Kurt Oddekalv is a respected Norwegian environmental activist, and he believes salmon farming is a disaster both for the environment and for human health.

Below the salmon farms dotted across the Norwegian fjords, there’s a layer of waste some 15 meters high, teeming with bacteria, drugs, and pesticides. In short, the entire sea floor has been destroyed, and since the farms are located in open water, the pollution from these farms is in no way contained.

A salmon farm can hold upwards of 2 million salmon in a relatively small amount of space. These crowded conditions result in disease, which spreads rapidly among the stressed salmon.

A number of dangerous pesticides are used in an effort to stave off disease-causing pests, one of which is known to have neurotoxic effects. Fish has always been considered a health food, but according to Oddekalv, today’s farmed salmon is one of the most toxic foods in the world!

Overall, farmed salmon is five times more toxic than any other food product tested. In animal feeding studies, mice fed farmed salmon grew obese, with thick layers of fat around their internal organs. They also developed diabetes.

Genetic Mutations and Other Crazy Facts

Besides keeping pests like sea lice in check, the pesticides used also affect the fish’s DNA, causing genetic mutations. Disturbing examples of deformed cod are shown in the film.

What’s even more disturbing is that, according to Oddekalv, about 50 percent of farmed cod are deformed in this fashion, and female cod that escape from farms are known to mate with wild cod, spreading the genetic mutations and deformities into the wild population.

Farmed salmon suffer less visible but equally disturbing mutations. The flesh of the farmed salmon is “brittle,” and breaks apart when bent — a highly abnormal feature.

The nutritional content is also wildly abnormal. Wild salmon contains about 5 to 7 percent fat, whereas the farmed variety can contain anywhere from 14.5 to 34 percent.

Many toxins accumulate most readily in fat, which means even when raised in similarly contaminated conditions, farmed salmon will contain far more toxins than wild.

Shockingly, research reveals that the most significant source of toxic exposure is not actually the pesticides or the antibiotics, but the dry pellet feed! Pollutants found in the fish feed include dioxins, PCBs, and a number of different drugs and chemicals.

What Makes the Fish Feed so Toxic?

In one Norwegian fish pellet plant, the main ingredient turns out to be eel, used for their high protein and fat content, and other fatty fish from the Baltic Sea. The Baltic is highly polluted. Some of the fish used have toxic levels of pollutants, which then simply get incorporated into the feed pellets.

In Sweden, fish mongers are now required to warn patrons about the potential toxicity of Baltic fish. According to government recommendations, you should not eat fatty fish like herring more than once a week, and if you’re pregnant, fish from the Baltic should be avoided altogether.
Swedish Greenpeace activist Jan Isakson reveals some of the sources of all this pollution. Just outside of Stockholm, there’s a massive paper mill on the bank of the Baltic that generates toxic dioxins.

Nine other industrialized countries surrounding the Baltic Sea also dump their toxic waste into this closed body of water. Dioxins bind to fat, which is why herring, eel, and salmon are particularly vulnerable, and end up accumulating higher amounts than other fish.

Environmental Pollution Poses Risks

Many panga farms are plagued with disease, courtesy of the polluted waters in which they’re raised. Mekong River, where many panga farms are located, is one of the most heavily polluted rivers in the world. In 2009, the World Wide Fund for Nature placed panga on their “red” list of products that pose a danger to environmental and human health.

Millions of Vietnamese households dump their waste directly into the Mekong River each day. Pesticides used in rice cultivation also migrate into this waterway. Green algae and bacteria release toxins into the water and reduce oxygen levels in the water, which adds further stress on the fish’s immune systems, making them more prone to disease.

To address disease, farmers add industrial quantities of drugs into their fish ponds, including a wide array of antibiotics. The side effect is drug resistance, which forces the farmers to keep increasing the dosages. The panga are not the only thing affected by this strategy, of course. Antibiotics spread through the river systems, are absorbed into the fish’s tissues and excreted through feces, which redistributes the drugs into the environment — and to those who eat the fish.

Are You Eating Fish, or Fish Waste?

Fish can be one of the healthiest foods you can eat, but in the industrial age you have to be ultra careful about choosing the right type of fish. If you needed another reason to avoid processed foods, watch this film to the end, where it describes how fish waste has become a “highly valued commodity” used in processed foods. At less than 15 cents per kilo, these fish heads and tails, and what little meat is left over after filleting, is a real profit maker.

Virtually nothing actually goes to waste anymore. Fish skins are recycled for use in the cosmetics industry. The remainder of the fish waste is washed and ground into a pulp, which is then used in prepared meals and pet food.

Since food manufacturers are not required to tell you their products contain fish pulp rather than actual fish fillet meat, this product offers a high profit margin for food manufacturers. One tipoff: if the product’s list of ingredients includes a fish without specifying that it’s made with fillet of fish, it’s usually made with fish waste pulp.

Best Seafood Options: Wild Alaskan Salmon, Sardines and Anchovies

It’s become quite clear that fish farms are not a viable solution to overfishing. If anything, they’re making matters worse, destroying the marine ecosystem at a far more rapid clip to boot ... So what’s the answer? Unfortunately, the vast majority of fish — even when wild caught — is too contaminated to eat on a frequent basis. Most major waterways in the world are contaminated with mercury, heavy metals, and chemicals like dioxins, PCBs, and other agricultural chemicals that wind up in the environment.

This is why, as a general rule, I no longer recommend getting your omega-3 requirements from fish. However, I do make two exceptions. One is authentic, wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon; the nutritional benefits of which I believe still outweigh any potential contamination.

Alaskan salmon is not allowed to be farmed, and is therefore always wild-caught. My favorite brand is Vital Choice Wild Seafood and Organics, which offers a nice variety of high-quality salmon products that test high for omega-3 fats and low for contaminants. Canned salmon labeled "Alaskan salmon" is a less expensive alternative to salmon fillets.

Other good choices include herring and fish roe (caviar), which is full of important phospholipids that nourish mitochondrial membranes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sea Shepherd, Pamela Anderson Team Up to Investigate Salmon Farming Industry

By Katie Pohlman

Farmed salmon is an industry shrouded in secrecy, producing more questions than answers and threatening the native salmon population, according to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's Operation Virus Hunter.

Sea Shepherd along with biologist Alexandra Morton and actor/activist Pamela Anderson—Sea Shepherd's board chairman—are behind the new campaign to investigate the lawfulness of salmon farming. Morton, as part of the campaign, will travel around Vancouver on Sea Shepherd's R/V Martin Sheen tracing the major salmon migration route, and stopping at various farms to conduct audits for disease and other factors.

"The salmon farming industry thrives on secrecy, shrouding its activities from public view," Morton said. "Operation Virus Hunter will shine a bright spotlight on this industry. Canada cannot claim it is protecting the oceans, including wild salmon, while at the same time, allowing the farmed salmon industry to release waste into the world's largest salmon migration route."

Morton said the audits with be non-aggressive and non-harassing.

"Ninety-four Nations of the Fraser River view wild salmon as being essential to who they are, and they have worked to conserve those stocks for thousands of years," First Nations Leader Chief Ernie Crey said. "The recent salmon declines are a threat to our existence and we hold salmon farms as one of the culprits. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans chooses foreign salmon famers over our title and rights again and again. We ask wild salmon be allowed to come and go to this river free from infection with farm salmon disease."

Farmed salmon comes from a hatchery stock lacking genetic variation. Often, farmed salmon are released into the wild as part of restocking programs hoping to reduce the impacts of overfishing wild salmon. Salmon can also escape into the wild due to faulty containment cages at farms. The intentional and unintentional release of farmed salmon in the wild is one of the main reasons Atlantic salmon has been drive to effective extinction.

Genetic erosion, which occurs when there is no diversity, is another consequence of the release of farmed salmon. Without diversity, a species cannot adapt to new environments or conditions. If they cannot adapt, the species eventually goes extinct.

Not only do farmed salmon lack genetic diversity, they are full of harmful chemicals, as well. Chile's National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service reported the country's salmon producers used 557 tonnes of antibiotics in 2015, with consumption rate per tonne of salmon reaching its highest point in nine year at 660 grams per tonne. Chile is the world's second largest salmon industry.

Farmed salmon are also more susceptible to disease.

"Salmon farms keep pens in the ocean, where the fish swim in their own feces, and breed disease and sea lice that kill wild salmon, threatening the orcas' ability to feed," Anderson said.

Salmon farming can also contribute to algae blooms in both fresh and salt water. Salmon farms could exacerbate the blooms by dumping rotten or contaminated fish into the sea. Sea Shepherd hopes to expose malpractices such as these.

"It is personally very satisfying to me to send one of our vessels to my home province of British Columbia, to address one of the most insidious threats to biodiversity on the West Coast—salmon farms," Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson said. "Our mission is to investigate, document and expose an industry that is spreading disease, parasites and destroying the natural habitat of our wild salmon - the coho, the sockeye and the chinook. These exotic Atlantic salmon simply do not belong in these waters."

Watch this PSA on the campaign:

Thursday, June 2, 2016

How To Debunk Food Fraud in a Restaurant? Truth in Menu at it's Best

How To Debunk Food Fraud in a Restaurant? Truth in Menu at it's Best 
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Here are a few tips to help you pick out fake food on menus.  Many restaurants and chefs lie about what they are really serving.  Is farmed salmon being mislabeled to wild salmon. 

Where To Buy The Best Salmon? How to Avoid Toxic Farmed Salmon

Where To Buy The Best Salmon? How to Avoid Toxic Farmed Salmon 
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So-Called Sustaianble Farmed Verlasso Salmon

So-Called Sustaianble Farmed Verlasso Salmon 
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Salmon in Our Diet

According to the USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines, we should consume at least 8 ounces of seafood per week to increase our overall wellness and improve heart health. That’s more than twice the current average intake of 3.5 ounces. Verlasso salmon is a wonderful way to meet this recommendation.

Salmon is considered a nutritional “superfood” for its many health benefits. Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. One serving of Verlasso salmon provides about 2 to 2.5 grams of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids in an 8 ounce serving. Salmon is also an excellent source of protein and contains 75% less saturated fat than a steak.

The USDA also recommends that women who are pregnant or breast feeding eat up to 12 ounces of seafood every week to increase their intake of omega-3 fatty acids, for their own health and their babies’ health.

Benefits of Omega-3

You’ve probably heard about the importance of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. The two most important types of omega-3s are EPA and DHA. What you might not know is that our ability to produce these two fatty acids is limited. We get most of our EPA and DHA directly from what we eat, including salmon. Salmon, in turn, get their omega-3s from what they eat. Consuming 8 ounces of seafood per week increases your intake of both EPA and DHA.

Wild Salmon Isn't The Right Color and Tastes Bad

Wild Salmon Isn't The Right Color and Tastes Bad 
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Wild Salmon Isn't The Right Color and Tastes Bad.

Aroma Thyme Bistro
(845) 647-3000
165 Canal St, Ellenville, NY  12428
1st Green Certified© Restaurant in the HV. New American menu w/ grass-fed steaks, seafood & vegan. 300 craft beers, 300 wines & indy spirits.

Marcus & Jamie Gu 
‪Twitter: @Aroma_Thyme
IG: hudsonvalleygreenrestaurant

Chef Marcus Guiliano is an award-winning chef, green restaurateur, real food activist, professional speaker, restaurant consultant & ultra-marathoner. Devoting his career to a whole food, whole life approach, Chef Marcus has coined the phrase Eco-Lectic Cuisine. The notion behind Eco-Lectic Cuisine is how Chef Marcus marries healthy food with ethically and socially responsible sustainable business practices. Marcus is often heard saying, “It's the whole picture that matters." Chef Marcus, and his wife Jamie,  had to overcome a handful of health challenges in the late 90s. He was able to eliminate all of the medications he was taking and in the transition cure an asthmatic condition he had from birth. After overcoming his various health challenges, Chef Marcus was invited to contribute over 200 recipes to several Dr. Gary Null's books. In addition to successfully owning and operating the first Green Certified restaurant in the Hudson Valley, Aroma Thyme Bistro, Chef Marcus has begun to devote his time consulting and trouble shooting for other restaurants. His master consulting project is an free online cyber coaching tool for applicable to all businesses, not just restaurants. Garnering his passion for clean, sustainable, healthy food choices, Chef Marcus has launched other activist/watchdog oriented sites including:, & the controversial On , Chef Marcus has called out fellow chefs for not being honest to their patrons on their menus. Chef Marcus has a rather large following on YouTube and his videos can be found under the moniker: Chef Marcus has been featured on CNN, Dr OZ, New York Post, New York Times, TEDx Longdock, Best Chef's America, Sierra Club Magazine, Huffington Post, International Wine Masters, Bottom Line Publications, Smithsonian (Online) and Organic Spa Magazine. The Colorado Dept of Agriculture stated, “Marcus Guiliano is the Willie Nelson of Farm to Table”. Recently, named Chef Marcus as one of The “5 Food Activists Helping To Make Big Changes."  Most days Chef Marcus can be found pursing his passion of food at his restaurant Aroma Thyme Bistro or on pursuing his passion for running on one of the many country roads and trails surrounding his restaurant.

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