May 24, 2021

Farmed salmon one of world's most sustainable food productions, report found



The farmed salmon industry has become one of the most environmentally conscious and sustainable food production methods in the world, according to a Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) report.


GSI, an industry initiative of 13 salmon farming companies, has recently published its Annual Sustainability Report, providing eight years of data across 14 key indicators – 10 environmental and four social.


Key trends from the report include:


- A 60% reduction in the average use of antibiotics since GSI's foundation in 2013, which can be attributed to the improvements in antibiotics stewardship, disease control and fish welfare led by GSI members;


- Continued efforts to accelerate availability and uptake of alternative responsible feed ingredients, such as novel oils (i.e. algae) and fish by-products, are supporting a growing industry to reduce its dependence on marine ingredients. This has led to an average decrease of marine ingredients in fish oil of 11% and fish meal of 40% since 2013;


- A shift towards a more holistic approach to preventing and managing sea lice resulted in a 50% decrease in medicinal use on average among GSI members since 2013, with a 96% decrease in in-feed treatments as companies shift to non-medicinal management practices;


- When compared with other animal proteins, farmed salmon represents an environmentally conscious choice, with a lower carbon footprint, requiring less land and more efficient use of feed resources;


- Farmed salmon is a nutrient-dense food that supports healthy diets. Since its formation in 2013, GSI members have targeted their efforts on accelerating progress against the most significant environmental challenges facing the sector: biosecurity and sustainable feed sourcing, as well as motivating industry progress towards third-party certification.


- Building on a nearly decade-long partnership, GSI and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are developing an industry-wide reporting framework to measure greenhouse gas emissions for the aquaculture sector and identify ways to mitigate climate impact.


- As a member of the UN Food Systems Summit Champions Network and recent co-host of a Food Systems Summit Dialogue, GSI is helping to identify and activate game-changing solutions for food systems transformation. In doing so, it seeks to demonstrate the essential role blue foods play in current and future food systems that are inclusive, healthy, sustainable and resilient.


The publication of the report also marks the launch of GSI's new resource hub, which includes infographics and case studies highlighting the work of GSI task forces and how GSI drives salmon farming and food system change at speed and scale.


- Fish Farmer