April 17, 2018

As mentioned in my previous blog post, not all farmed Atlantic salmon is created equal. More than 90 percent of the fresh Atlantic salmon eaten in the USA comes from giant fish farms that are located in ocean waters (usually sheltered bays), and those farms have big problems. These “net-pen” raised salmon are treated with pesticide to remove sea lice and antibiotics to deal with bacterial infections; the protein in their feed pellets comes from land-based plants (not marine life); dye is added to their feed to give their flesh the nice colour we associate with Atlantic salmon; they may contain high amounts of PCBs and toxins; the fish farms pollute the area under the sea-cages (to the point where nothing can grow there); escapees from these sea-cages interact and breed with wild Atlantic salmon thus weakening the gene pool and competing for habitat; and the list goes on.

On the other hand, there is a small but growing segment of the Atlantic salmon farming industry that is doing it right. These farms are located on land and the salmon are grown in very large tanks filled with water that is circulated continuously. Various tanks contain salmon as they progress through their various stages of life – fry, parr, smolt, grilse, large salmon. Factors such as water temperature, salinity, oxygen level and even number of hours of daylight are controlled to provide optimum growing conditions.

These farmed Atlantic salmon never see any pesticides, antibiotics, chemicals or other drugs. The protein portion of their feed pellets is marine based, not land-plant or land-animal based. They are not exposed to PCBs or toxins that may be present in the ocean. The continuously circulated water goes through filters where the salmon’s fecal matter is removed, de-watered and dried for use as fertilizer. These farms don’t cause any pollution.

One such company that successfully raises Atlantic salmon in land-based facilities is Nova Scotia’s own Sustainable Blue. To learn more about this company, it’s leading-edge technology and its environmentally-safe process, please go to: http://sustainableblue.com/ .

“Sustainable Blue, located near the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, is a Canadian producer of sustainably raised fish of the highest quality. We use our proprietary aquaculture technology to operate an earth-friendly land-based recirculation fish farming operation. We’re committed to product quality, environmental responsibility, and commercial success through sustainable practices.”

Salmon Hole Lodge is a long-time proponent of land-based closed-containment Atlantic salmon aquaculture. Specifically, we are a big fan of Sustainable Blue, the high quality of their farmed Atlantic salmon and what their company stands for: sustainability. The Sustainable Blue brand of farmed Atlantic salmon is of the highest quality and far superior in taste and quality when compared to conventional ‘open net-pen’ farmed salmon. It can be purchased online from Afishionado Fishmongers (https://www.afishionado.ca/) and either shipped directly to your home or picked up at a location in north-end Halifax.

In summary, the benefits associated with Sustainable Blue’s facility and eating its products?

• Their recirculation system provides consistently clear, clean water for the fish.

• All organic waste (from the fish) is held on land and may be used as fertilizer.

• All incoming water is sterilized so the fish lead a disease-free life.

• No disease means the fish lead a drug-free life. No anti-biotics and no lice pesticides.

• Water parameters are set for optimal growing conditions.

• These ideal conditions mean our Atlantic salmon use precious resources, including food, very efficiently.

The next time you want to buy Atlantic salmon to feed your family, you should try Sustainable Blue salmon available only at Afishionado Fishmongers. I highly recommend buying a whole salmon which weighs about 8 pounds (gutted with head on) and yields about 6.2 pounds of meat – at a cost of $80. This works out to roughly $13/pound of the best salmon you’ve ever tasted. It may cost a bit more but it is well worth it considering the superior taste, food safety and impact on our environment.

Disclosure: Salmon Hole Lodge Ltd. and owner Scott Smith have no investment in or relationship with Sustainable Blue or Afishionado Fishmongers.