Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Fish Farms Kill Billions of Forage Fish - Post 2

I have done a lot more technical reading: the Nofima report (it's math is as dense as it gets) and the Sea Around Us report, as well as communicated with the latter.

The links for those reports are in my last post on this subject: In NOFIMA, work your way through the feed conversion section, pa 27 - 34, and see if it makes you dizzy.

While the fish conversion rate of fishmeal/oil into feed has not changed from 5 to 1, because the stocks of forage fish have been fished down so drastically for fish feed and other uses, 19 out of 20 stocks have problems (other than Antarctic krill - which is not even a fish), the number of forage fish made into feed has dramatically dropped.

The forage fish has been largely replaced with proteins and ingredients from plants, also fish guts and waste, along with chicken feathers and other things. In a personal communication from the Sea Around Us, I am told a feed conversion rate of 2, is a more current value.

So, let's run through the figures again:
1.Size of forage fish and number/kg                       88.2 gms, 11.3fish/kg
2.Kg of bait fish per kg farmed salmon                  2kg
3.No of kg before salmon harvest                          5kg
4.Number of fish per farm                                       600,000
5.Number of Farms in BC                                       85

The equation is: 11.3 X 2 X 5 X 600,000 X 85 = 5.76 billion dead fish.

Cutting to the chase, the results are:

Fish farms kill 113 fish to feed a single farmed salmon.
Fish farms kill 67.8 million fish to feed a single farm.
Fish farms kill 5.76 Billion fish to bring one harvest of fish to market.

When fish farms claim 1.125 to 1.25 conversion rate, that is deceptive, as it means fish meal in feed, but neglects the wet weight of the original fish. It is also based on Norwegian analysis, which it must always be noted that the government and business act in lock step fashion in Norway, and the aim is to make the most money possible. The government has benefited many times, starting and retaining Cermaq for instance until its sale in 2014 to Mitsubishi.

And you should know that those plant substitutes also have problems and due criticism. Soy can be the result of rain forest stripped and aboriginals thrown off their land, as well as GMO problems. Some sources of oil include palm oil, one that has long been criticized.

In addition, the amount of phosphorous lost is 73% because it passes out with sewage, but because it is a limited mineral, closed containment should be used so it can be retained from sewage - the world is going to run out of phosphorous if it is not retained.

Also, fish release the more toxic ammonium rather than urea as in land animals. Because sewage is released in BC waters, it negatively affects the environment. It needs to be collected in closed systems and recycled. Nitrogen is very important in protein synthesis, for instance.

And all those fish that are killed to feed farmed fish? 68% of their protein is lost as waste from the fish. And those omega 3s and 6s? 48% are lost from the farmed fish. In fact, because the 'trimmings' are cut off during processing, it means the constituent retained in the edible portion of the salmon is less than half of what was in the fish before being slaughtered.

And, of course, feeding farmed fish with farm salmon factory waste, is the same process that started mad cow disease.

See how much is lost. From this NOFIMA table:

Retained in whole body of salmon
Retention in edible part of salmon
Retention in trimmings 1
Not retained – loss 2
Lipid - 3
EPA + DHA - 3

1 Retention in whole body (%) – retention in edible part (%)
2 100% retention in whole body (%)
3 Includes lipids produced from non-lipid precursors


One last thing: fish farms still use the 90% figure for forage fish in fish meal. That would mean my original figures of 14.4 billion dead forage fish as well as the 282 dead fish to feed one farmed fish, would still be the correct current figures.

"Where does fish feed come from? 

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, about 90 percent of global fishmeal production is from oily fish species such as anchovies, mackerel, pilchard, capelin and menhaden. These small, bony fish are generally unsuitable for human consumption. As an alternative to fishmeals, the aquaculture industry is increasingly using vegetable proteins and oils."

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