Fish farming, also known as Aquaculture, is an industry that uses sea life for commercial purposes. One of the most common fish species that are farmed worldwide is salmon. Most of the salmon Americans consume are farmed in British Columbia and grow in open net cages placed directly in the ocean; creating environmental threats in all areas it takes place. The problem with open net cages that are placed directly in the ocean is; the release of ocean harming farm waste, chemicals, and disease. Before these problems can be solved, a look at the salmon net cage industry is needed, along with the environmental impacts. Open cages are not secure in fact many farmed salmon can escape, escapees usually occur during storms or damages made to the net by their predators. According to Oceana.org “Atlantic Salmon escapes on the U.S. and Canadian west coasts are common; there were 350,000 known escapes in 1997 and farmed Atlantic Salmon have been found thousands of miles away from the closest salmon facilities.” (Farmed Fish Escapes) The problem with escapees is that they are known to travel long ways and carry diseases. Farmers are encouraged to treat farmed salmon with antibiotics sense they are in open net cages in the ocean, and are prone to diseases found in the ocean.
Farmed Salmon are sterilized with antibiotics to keep other wild fish safe; the concern with the use of antibiotics in farmed salmon is that many of these antibiotics are also used to treat human diseases. Scientist Cabello works in the department of microbiology says “the industry continues to rely on these treatments, administered in net-cages open to the ocean, despite growing concerns over antibiotic resistance.”(Cabello) The antibiotics used to treat farmed salmon are becoming resistant to antibiotics making it more difficult to treat human diseases because it allows microbes to become resistant to antibiotic treatments, making it more difficult to treat human disease. (farmedanddangerous.org) Salmon farming in British Columbia can resolved by simply by separating the farmed salmon from the open net cages and into a land facility. Farming salmon on land decreases a lot of health risks, less escapees, and chemical waste.
According to David Suzuki founder of The David Suzuki foundation he states “Evidence shows that land-based, closed-containment aquaculture is an environmentally, technically, and economically viable option to net-pen aquaculture.” (Suzuki) Operating a land-based facility is affordable when it comes down to all costs to the environment; it decreases environmental issues that can be a greater issue in the future. The good news is that in Canada, Washington State, and Tasmania closed containment salmon farming is being practiced (Puresalmon.org). A company that is practicing closed containment farming is AgriMarine, on the website Puresalom.org they examine and state “will yield all-year-round crops of ecologically sound salmon, raised in environmentally safe [closed] facilities — a first in an entire industry.” (qtd. In AgriMarine) Land-based salmon farms remove the risk of escaped salmon and contamination of the ocean. Open net-cage salmon farms are a serious threat to the balance of life in the ocean and to wild salmon in particular. The solution is to grow salmon on land facilities it creates a barrier between farmed salmon and the ocean, it helps to protect the ecosystem and wild salmon from the problems caused by industrial salmon farming.
AgriMarine qtd in Pure Salmon Campaign “Solutions” Puresalmon.org N.P. web. 12 July 2014 David Suzuki Foundation. “Closed containment is affordable”. Davidsazuki.org. Web. 10 July 2014 “Farm Fish Escapes”. Oceana.org. N.P. Web. 12 July 2014 “Excessive Antibiotics”. Farmedanddangerous.org. CARR. Web. 11 July 2014