An organization has been created by farmed salmon producers with the intention of making the venture more environmentally friendly and sustainable, as well as healthier for consumers. Known as the Global Salmon Initiative, or GSI, it includes more than a dozen of the world’s leading producers of salmon from fish farms.
The idea of farming with salmon seems to be a promising one, especially with concerns about over-harvesting of salmon through commercial fishing in waterways. Salmon in oceans, lakes and other waterways also sometimes experience a significant reduction in population because of pollution, invasive species, the building of dams and other disruptive forces.
Salmon farming turned out to generate its own particular problems, however. For example, if a virus or another disease begins to affect the population, it can quickly decimate large numbers of salmon in an enclosed area. Providing medication to the fish poses the risk of the substances getting into the nation’s food supply; people already are concerned about the harmful effects of antibiotics in poultry and other livestock. People also became worried about whether the water that farmed salmon live in could be kept clean.
Consumers also want reassurance that if they buy salmon from another part of the globe, that the standards for raising that fish were comparable to those in countries with the highest food production standards and most stringent regulations. U.S. consumers, for instance, may be unclear as to whether farmed salmon from Chile is something they should buy. They also need information about why this country imports fish from so far away when salmon from North America is available. Through an organization such as GSI, consumers can learn why salmon farming is most common in countries relatively close to the north and south poles. That includes not only Chile but Canada, Iceland and Norway. Cold water and specific biological conditions are essential for successful salmon farming.