You Won’t Believe the Source of the World’s Most Sustainable Salmon

BUSINESS

When you hear the term “sustainable seafood,” you might envision a fisherman pulling catch from a pristine sea. But the most sustainable Atlantic salmon are not caught. And they’re not from the sea. (TIME)

Use our resources to learn more about sustainable seafood.

In the wild, Atlantic salmon follow an anadromous migration pattern, meaning they migrate from freshwater (rivers and streams) to the ocean (saltwater) and back to freshwater habitats. (These wild Atlantic salmon are swimming up the Saint Jean River from the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to spawn.) In salmon farms, the fish spend their entire lives in freshwater. Photograph by David Doubilet, National Geographic

In the wild, Atlantic salmon follow an anadromous migration pattern, meaning they migrate from freshwater (rivers and streams) to saltwater (the ocean) and back to freshwater habitats. (These wild Atlantic salmon are swimming up the Saint Jean River from the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to spawn.) In salmon farms, the fish spend their entire lives in freshwater.
Photograph by David Doubilet, National Geographic

Discussion Ideas

 

  • Why might those sources come as a surprise?

 

 

  • The TIME article says the salmon farms have “succeeded in “eliminating the usual concerns about fish farming.” What are some environmental risks to large-scale, commercial fish farming?
    • risk of farmed fish escaping and mating with wild populations
    • risk of excess fish waste contaminating the natural environment
    • risk of exposing wild animals to new diseases
    • excess use of water resources
    • excess use of feeder fish

 

  • What are some economic obstacles to large-scale, commercial fish farming?
    • expense of sustaining technology, equipment, and infrastructure:
      • controlling water temperature
      • controlling oxygen content
      • controlling pH levels
      • providing food and nutrients
      • adjusting water turbidity and other environmental conditions
    • one salmon farmer reportedly told a Norwegian paper that farming salmon on land was as foolish as raising pigs at sea!

 

  • What are some advantages to indoor fish farming, as opposed to ocean-based fish farming (not wild-caught)?
    • fish grow faster
    • in a more controlled environment, fewer fish die
    • less need for vaccinations and antibiotics
    • fish waste is rich in nutrients and can be sold as a soil fertilizer

 

Silvery little smolts of Salmo salar! Photograph by Peter Steenstra, National Conservation Training Center, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Silvery little smolts of Salmo salar!
Photograph by Peter Steenstra, National Conservation Training Center, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

This week is Geography Awareness Week, celebrating the Geography of Food! This week, our Current Event Connection will focus on Food in the News, exploring food as a dynamic, diverse interconnection between health, politics, the environment, and business.

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT

TIME: You Won’t Believe the Source of the World’s Most Sustainable Salmon

Nat Geo: sustainable fishing

Monterey Bay Aquarium: Seafood Watch Consumer Guides

2 responses to “You Won’t Believe the Source of the World’s Most Sustainable Salmon

  1. Pingback: 11 Things We Learned This Week | Nat Geo Education Blog·

  2. a barramundi can also; live in fresh or salt water. but like warmer water . we , would not need fish farms. if the goverment stopped letting cruise size ships rake and target one speices of fish like cod or orange roughy. more expenisve.fish , will always be caught more. then other fish. they will even dumb other fish , too keep the ones that are worth ,more per, kilo. makes me sick.

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