Three years ago I knew little about global farming of Atlantic salmon. I thought the story was: jobs, revenue and feeding a hungry world. Then I read a Science journal article dated January 9, 2004 by Hites et al from Albany University of New York. It detailed the persistent organic pollutants (POPs), PCBs, dioxins and other chemicals found in farmed salmon, and that cause, among other things, cancer.
Then I read an article by David Miller of Bath University, UK on how the fish farm industry had systematically attacked the article’s, and scientists’ credibility and ultimately ‘proven’ that Scotland’s farmed salmon were sustainable and organic. The problem was that Miller’s article read like a Hollywood thriller: https://www.academia.edu/2939514/Spinning_farmed_salmon.
Since reading it, I have questioned everything fish farms say. Marine Harvest, Cermaq, Grieg Seafood, 90% of the BC industry, are all from Norway. I realized the threat their diseases pose to wild Pacific salmonids, and that BC is the first place where contact with the Pacific species has happened. The obvious solution: putting fish farms on land, has been persistently refused by the global Norwegian companies, Marine Harvest in 22 countries, for example.
To do my small part in standing for wild Pacific salmon, I started the blog: www.fishfarmnews.blogspot.com. I had no idea it would become a global success, and, without any advertising, or anything other than putting up text, I have been stunned it has received 85,000 page views, with an acceleration to another 50,000 in the next year likely. To my surprise, I have received emails from all continents. Recently, a newspaper in Tasmania asked me for advice on how to deal with the industry moving there.
I have just placed all posts in an index so anyone interested has reference to all posts in one place. I go back and update posts, so even ones from three years ago can contain new information. Without doubt the post on the 69 Closed-Containment, On-land fish Farm Systems I have found around the world, and that comprise more than 8,000 actual farms, is far and away the most viewed post on the site. The world wants fish farms out of the ocean.
The purpose of the blog is to put up links to the science so anyone can read it and form their own opinions. I have read 20,000 pages of fish farm environmental damage science in the past three years, and often read 100 pages of fish farm news from around the world each week. There are times when my forecasts of global farmed fish prices and shares prove more accurate than the brokers in Oslo and New York who get paid to do what I do for free.
Any reader who wants to look into, say, the science of on-land, closed, recirculating fish farms can get there from links on the site. One link is to a symposium held in Shepherdstown, Virginia in Sept 2013. There are more than 50 presentations at this link and will keep you reading for days. They are fascinating: http://tidescanada.org/salmon/aquaculture-innovation-workshops-and-reports/.
Of great humour, Marine Harvest, Cermaq (now Mitsubishi?) and Grieg Seafood, who are unwilling to give their real names in my list of followers, follow my site closely and obviously read everything the second I post it; this is because almost 12,000 page views are from Norway; 1 in 7.
Currently, DFO is rewriting the aquaculture laws to allow fish farms to release anything they want from their farms into our oceans: chemicals, anti-fouling, diseases and sewage. My estimate of the last item is $10.4 Billion that we, taxpayers, in essence pay for. While this is bad, the BC industry could well be toast as its own parent companies in Norway successfully lobbied for the USA to remove a 26% tariff on their products – the US is the only real market of BC farmed fish, as in 85%, because Canadians won’t eat it. Chile, just back from the brink in 2008, losing a quarter of a billion fish to ISA disease, is at peak production and it goes into the States, too. In addition, Marine Harvest recently floated a bond in New York, and will be setting up in the USA soon. In other words, the BC industry may well be sacrificed by its own parent companies. Not a legal issue, simply economics.
Here is the link to the index: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2014/10/index-to-wwwfishfarmnewsblogspotcom.html.
In closing, Hites et al have gone on to publish several articles over the intervening decade about the chemical pollutants in farmed fish. And the big story in Norway the past year is their own scientists and doctors telling consumers, particularly mothers and children, not to eat farmed salmon because of the health issues to do with eating those chemicals.