Salmon Farms

By: Adam, Yu-En, Tesneem

What are salmon farms?

A salmon farm is a type of aquaculture that is used to produce massive quantities of salmon. Salmon farms are mostly neretic and are usually located along the coastal areas.
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How are they farmed?

Salmon are harvested in two stages. In the first stage, salmon eggs are hatched on land in freshwater tanks where they are closely monitored and fed until they are about 12-18 months old. The second stage involves moving the salmon into floating sea cages, also known as net pens. These artificial sheltered bays hold up to 90,000 fish with volumes of 1,000 to 10,000 cubic meters.

What types of salmon are farmed?

How do salmon farms harm the environment

Salmon farms are extremely bad for the environment and cause havoc on the environment that they are placed in. The salmon is raised in open pens and cages in the ocean that is subject to attacks by predators such as seals and seagulls. From these attacks, many salmon escape from their enclosure and threaten the wild species, increasing the competition for food and places to spawn and reproduce. In addition, the salmon farms pump uneaten food, often including excrement, pesticides, and antibiotics directly into the ocean. Because the salmon is fed these harmful substances, they are suspectible to disease and can often pass it off to the wild species. Most harmful of all is that it takes 2.5-5 kilo of fish to produce 1 kilo of farmed salmon, making the practice unsustainable.

Risks of Marine Aquaculture

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Ways to mitigate the effects of salmon farms

There are several ways to mitigate the effects of salmon farms. The first is by developing strong guidelines for salmon aquaculture under the Clean Water Act. Another is by supporting the National Marine Fisheries Service and Fish and Wildlife Service activities under the Endangered Species Act, which can help protect wild salmon. We can also create a protective program for offshore aquaculture. Lastly, we could have some sort of incentive for protecting the habitat and population of wild salmon around the world.

There are over 20 laws and regulations that people follow when farming salmon. These law ensure the environmental protection of habitats as well as keeps food safe to consume.

If the government banned farmed salmon?

If the government banned this type of commercial practice, there would be a lot of public outcry. The low cost and abundance of farmed salmon has caused the price of salmon to drop significantly, making it a popular choice among both shoppers and diners. With such popularity and an ever-shrinking wild salmon population, the prices would skyrocket if farmed salmon was banned and would likely lead to the extinction of wild salmon.

Are salmon farms environmentally sustainable?

Salmon farms require a lot of other fish to sustain their salmon population because they are carnivorous fish. In order to maintain a good amount of salmon, a lot of bait fish have to be caught, creating an unsustainable ratio of fish produced to fish consumed, thus affecting the oceanic ecosystem. Salmon farming also often damages the surrounding environment. They sometimes treat their fish with antibiotics and chemicals to prevent diseases from wild marine creatures to decimate the farm salmon's population. It also send high levels of sea lice into the surrounding ocean. So in addition to being environmentally unsustainable,salmon farms are also damaging to the habitats they are in.
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Alternative Seafood Choices

Some alternative seafood choices other than farmed salmon would be wild salmon from California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska which are subject to less pollution than farmed salmon or other wild salmon. Another choice would be to reduce/eliminate or consumption of salmon. You can find out more information about sustainable seafoods to eat from www.seafoodwatch.com .

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