Friday, 28 October 2011

FISH FARM MYTHS - A Growing List - Updated Nov 21, 2011

1. Fish farms say they are producing fish to feed a hungry world. WRONG. They are producing fish for the first world countries that can afford to buy them. In 2004, the Canadian and Norwegian bare cost to produce a kg of farmed salmon was, respectively: $2.60 and $2.30. Then you add transportation per kg: Chile, for example, was $1.80, just to the US, and Norway is excluded from the US market due to high tariffs (26.7%).

Total cost per kg in CDN, NWY, CL: $4.25; $5.70; and, $3.75.
The hungry countries of the third world cannot afford these prices.

Sales prices for 2011, 2012 and 2013 are expected to be depressed: To Come.

2. Fish farms need to be in the ocean. WRONG. I have a list of 33 mostly-closed, on-land, many recirulating systems.
Just ask for it.

One facility is a research unit for 200 on-land systems. In the States there is a recirculating system, on-land association, and fish are grown on land around the world. Fish have been grown on land since the sixth century BC.

Norwegian derivative fish farms are old-tech systems that should have been retired long ago. The rest of the world has moved on to sustainable on-land facilities. This is the product retailers and consumers want now.

The Netherlands is 100% closed systems as their laws require that. So should other countries. See:

And the CAAR site has very good, very current presentations on closed systems:

3. Fish farming on land costs too much to be competitive. WRONG. The best technical report on this subject, that details down to the nuts and bolts of on-land fish farms is this: Technologies for Viable Salmon Aquaculture:

4. Closed Container fish farms are uneconomical. WRONG Agrimarine, a closed, in-ocean system, is taking on Norwegian derivative fish farms in Norway. It is operating, also in China where no Norwegian derivative fish farm is allowed to set up shop:

5. Fish farms create a lot of employment. WRONG. In fact, after 26 years the BC industry has only 1,256 jobs - DFO figure - and MH just laid off 60 employees.The Netherlands has only 155. On the Isle of Eigge, Scotland, fish farms are trying to sell fish farms in this pristine area on the basis of 4 jobs. And, over time, employment drops because the feeding and lighting systems installed reduce the need for humans. In Nova Scotia, the initial labouring jobs let in 2010 were about $11 per hour. In BC, in comparison, forestry has 78,000 jobs. Fish farms are small employers and an even smaller percentage of GPP: 0.2% in BC.

Even in Norway, fish farming is small. Farms are densely packed and about 21 farms/BC farm. The claim is that 5,000 work in fish farming and the contribution to Norway's GDP is 0.5%. See this for further stats:

6. ISA gives false positive results frequently. WRONG. The provincial testing of 4,726 farmed salmon showed zero positives. In fact, it showed 1100 classic symptoms of ISA, but zero positives. If testing frequently gave false positives, fish farm fish would have given some positive tests for ISA.

On the other hand, the world designated expert lab under Dr. Kibenge, produced 5 positive results in about 60 wild fish tested for ISA - and in four of five species of Pacific salmon. This suggests that the provincial testing gave, if anything, false negatives.

7. We need more science rather than solving problems by putting fish farms on land. WRONG. Fish farms continue asking for science to avoid having to move. They still say, for instance, that sea lice don't transfer to and cause problems in wild salmon, after almost 30 years and 1000 lice per fish in Norway - where Slice no longer works. All that is needed is: DFO to focus on wild salmon and the precautionary principle.

8. We need more science. WRONG. Any reasonable person who Googles fish farm science will find science piled ten feet high saying that fish farms should be on-land, in closed containment.

9. Atlantic salmon is a wonderfully healthy, pristine product with huge amounts of Omega 3s and 6s.
WRONG. The fat content of farmed salmon makes them contain high levels of polluting organic chemicals. 'While dioxin-like activity is found in almost all animal food products that contain fat, the levels in the farmed and market salmon that we have analyzed are higher than those in almost all other foods.'

10. You need Atlantic salmon because of its Omega 3s and 6s. WRONG. The diet of western people already contains excessive amounts of Omega 6s. And all the Omega 3s you need come from vegetable oils and animal fats.


  1. The opinion of this article is terribly antiquated and poorly written to boot. Here's NOAA's take on the myths of aquaculture (and they actually cite their sources!)

    1. I have read the NOAA report and it reads like they gave it to fish farms to write up and thus it is all fish farm spin - and sad for Americans that like government bodies all over the world, the USA federal government will not be critical and scientific. Pacific Salmonids will soon be being diseased and killed by farmed salmon.

      The NOAA report is a poor document and the US deserves better.

      Yes, there are a couple of spots that could be updated in this post. If you read my site you will know that I do update posts from time to time.

      For example, the number of actual jobs in BC is now only 795. That is how small the employment from this industry is. And all aquaculture comprises only $61.9 million in GPP, while the rest of the fishing sector is 600% high at about $605 Million.

      Fish farms need to be out of the water and put on land. The sewage cost that we pay for is about $10.4 billion. We don't want to pay their sewage costs.

      DC Reid