October 29, 2015


Sustainable salmon farming pushed



Global demand for salmon has grown tremendously, and shows no signs of slowing down, said Jon Hindar, CEO of Cermaq, one of the world's leading companies in farming of salmon and trout.  


Speaking at the GOAL (Global Outlook on Aquaculture Leadership) 2015 conference in Vancouver, Canada, on Tuesday, October 27, Hindar said that since 2010 consumption of farmed salmon has increased by 40%, driven by good fit with consumer trends and new products that are easy to prepare and ready to eat.


Nutritional advice supports the positive role of salmon and seafood in the global environment, he added, noting that nutritionists advise people to consume more seafood and vegetable and fruit, and limit the consumption of red meat. Red meat includes beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse and goat. On Monday, October 26, the World Health Organisation (WHO) caused a furor in the meat industry after it said red meat may cause cancer when grilled, pan-fried or cooked in high temperatures.


Hindar suggested that salmon farming can make a difference. While admitting that farmed salmon will never be significant in the total global diet (salmon constitutes just 6% of fish farming in terms of volume), he said salmon replacing beef is good for health and the environment. Farmed salmon are known for their high levels of Omega 3 content, as well as a good source of vitamins and minerals.


Even the Food and Agricultural Organisation, or FAO, places much hope on farmed salmon, saying it can offer one solution to meeting the world's demand for protein, which is expected to grow by 70% by 2050 when population is predicted to reach 9 billion.


Most technically advanced


Hindar said that in aquaculture, salmon farming is the most technically advanced seafood production in the use, for example, of vaccines, feed and technical equipment. "The salmon farming industry can transfer vital competence and technology to advance aquaculture of other species", he said. "The industry has made significant advances in knowledge and technology, but must effectively address important challenges".


These challenges include fish health. Hindar cited such health issues as sea lice and diseases from pathogens. Escapees may also pose threats to wild Atlantic salmon, he added.


Hindar batted for sustainability of salmon farming, saying there should be collaboration on research and development and preventive fish health.


He cited the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) for assuming a leadership initiative in this regard. GSI, launched in 2013, is at present composed of 14 salmon aquaculture companies including Cermaq, which has operations in Norway, Chile and Canada. GSI members represent around 50 % of global farmed-salmon supply.


Importance of farmed fish


"Being a member of GSI requires a strong commitment to sustainable farming practices, dedication of resources and time, and transparency in reporting", Hindar said.


GSI has stressed the importance of farmed fish which, it said, could provide a daily food supply for more than 500 million people by 2050.


FAO foresees natural fisheries to reach full depletion by 2056. Currently world fisheries are 50% over-exploited, it said.


Salmon farming started experimentally in the 1960s and by 1980s it became an industry in Norway, and in Chile in the 1990s. Today around 60% of the world's salmon production is farmed. In 2011 1,600,000 tonnes of farmed salmon were produced, while only 930,000 tonnes of wild salmon were caught.-Rick Alberto

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