February 13, 2024


Report reveals impact of Norwegian salmon industry on West African fisheries


A recent report by environmental organisations showed the significant impact of the Norwegian salmon industry on West African fisheries, highlighting concerns over sustainability and livelihoods in the region, SeafoodSource reported.


According to the report titled "Blue Empire: How the Norwegian salmon industry extracts nutrition and undermines livelihoods in West Africa," nearly 2 million metric tonnes of wild fish are harvested annually from the ocean to feed Norwegian farmed salmon. This practice, aimed at producing fish oil for salmon feed, has raised alarm bells about its adverse effects on the economies and food security of West African countries like The Gambia, Senegal, and Mauritania.


The report focused on the critical role of small-scale fishing in West African coastal communities, where it serves as the primary means of subsistence for Indigenous populations. The influx of large vessels supplying fishmeal and fish oil industries, primarily driven by the demand from Norwegian salmon farming, has affected the livelihoods and dignity of these communities.


Feedback, the organisation behind the report, calculates that Norway's salmon farming industry's "feed footprint" accounts for 2.5% of the global marine fisheries catch. This disproportionate reliance on wild-caught fish raises concerns about sustainability and exacerbates food insecurity in West Africa.


Despite claims of contributing to global food security, the rapid expansion of industrial aquaculture, particularly salmon farming, has been criticized as a form of modern-day colonialism. The report highlights the failure of corporate sustainability initiatives to address hunger and malnutrition in West African nations, exacerbated by the salmon-farming industry's voracious appetite for wild fish.


The report also reveals alarming statistics regarding the decline in fish stocks and local fish consumption in West Africa, attributing it to unfair competition from fishmeal factories and overexploitation of fish resources driven by industrial aquaculture demands.


In response to these findings, environmental NGOs like Feedback and WildFish are urging British restaurant chain Wagamama to cease serving farmed salmon. This campaign seeks to raise awareness and advocate for responsible sourcing practices in the hospitality industry, with hopes that it sets a precedent for the inclusion of sustainable seafood options on menus.


-      SeafoodSource

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