Saturday, 17 January 2015

Fish Farms are a Boom Bust Industry - Updated Jan 24, 2015

I have pointed out in many posts on this blog that in-ocean fish farms are a boom bust industry. And it is the staff who pay the price. They are let go, just as Marine Harvest did in BC, Canada two years ago, just before Christmas. And in Chile where an ISA virus wiped out a quarter of a billion salmon, some 13,000 to 26,000 employees were let go, but the big multi-national companies, like Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Grieg Seafood, just keep rolling on.

Here is another, current article that shows that fish farming is a boom bust industry. Norway has problems with Russian sanctions arising from the west’s placing sanctions on Russia regarding the Crimea and Ukraine. In addition, Norway is having difficulty selling into France because citizens have, in the past year, received the news on the environmental degradation caused by in-ocean fish farms and won’t buy Norwegian farmed salmon.

Elimination of a 26% duty into the USA means Norway can now pump product into that market, and it is still in a slump. And the losers? Their own Canadian operations in BC that sells 85% of their product into the USA because Canadians won't buy it. And Chile, with many of the same multinationals, has a lock on frozen product to the US, is at peak production, but with fears of a new ISA disaster as happened in 2008.

The point is that fish farms are a speculative boom bust industry. They are not about jobs and revenue, because the employees get fired right away in bust periods. More employment is lost when the big companies move to food machines and 24 hour lights. This happens all around the world. Fish farms are not about revenue and employment, they are a net negative to economies because they do not pay for their sewage costs. 

In fact, fish farms put out more sewage than the entire human population in many countries where they operate (Norway, Scotland, Canada). In BC that is more than the entire human population of 4.6 million people. My calculation is that we BC taxpayers are on the hook for $10.4 billion in sewage costs that fish farms don't clean up, which they can completely eliminate by coming on land.

In Chilie, the farms, trying to stay ahead of ISA are buying up pristine Patagonia sites and moving into better water because the rest of Chile is so polluted with fish farm diseases, lice, escapes – up to four million salmon per year - chemicals and sewage.

See this article for a good, wide ranging discussion of the competitive issues faced in this boom bust industry:

This following article quotes that Norwegian salmon prices are slumping in the USA, and reconfirms that Norwegian prices are slumping in France.

Fish farms need to be on land or go back to Norway.

Here is an update to Jan 24, 2015: Norway prices ‘bloodbath’.
Norwegian salmon prices fall sharply. Industry players talk of yet another ‘bloodbath’ as prices for Atlantic salmon drop to new lows.

In other words, Norwegian style in-ocean fish farms are a boom bust industry.

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