Saturday, July 5, 2008

Where's Paul Harvey When You Need Him?

In today's Spokesman Review there was a short article about 30,000 Atlantic salmon escaping from a fish farm in the waters off British Columbia and the provincial Environmental Ministry is going to investigate. Then it explains how the salmon got out due to an anchor slipping and pulling a corner of the net down. At first glance I joked to myself that a bunch of fish had engineered their own Great Escape. But then I wondered why this was important enough to put in the paper yet it still doesn't say much of anything. Ah, a Canadian paper has more details on the impact of the escaped fish.

"You get juvenile Atlantics, they're not indigenous to the coast and they start competing with the wild salmon and they start putting the wild salmon at risk. Everything has to be done to stop having those Atlantic salmon in the ocean," she said. "Any time you bring in an invasive species or a non-indigenous species ... it poses a threat to the existing biological diversity."

Well, these are pen-raised salmon. I refuse to buy Atlantic salmon because they create an ecological nightmare.

"Disease is rampant among captive salmon and shrimp, Molyneaux contends, while medications used to cure disease make bacteria disease-resistant. Are shrimp and pen-raised salmon safe to eat? Don't count on it, according to "Swimming In Circles." The book cites studies that find high levels of PCBs in farmed salmon, plus organic pollutants "10 times higher" than levels in the wild fish."

Another article about the escape says there are still 450,000 salmon at the operation where the escape took place. So nearly one-half million fish are fed in the same enclosed area and all of their waste drops to the same area of the sea floor. Once you have a look at the global scale of pen-raised salmon farming it's not difficult to piece together the rest of the story.

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