Salmon was once a luxury meal until people started farming it. It began as an experiment in the 1960s and became a full-fledged industry in the late 1980s. Today, more than 60% of harvested salmon comes from a farm.
Yes, we need salmon farms
According to FAO, the world’s population will reach a whopping 9.7 billion by 2050. They also said the demand for protein would increase by 40%. With this kind of numbers at hand, the pressure will build on the already overexploited wild fish stock. That’s why salmon farming is so important.
But there’s a catch. Most fish farms have suffered from severe sea lice infestations. These parasites cling on the fish, sucking blood and feeding on the skin, leaving the fish dead. This problem has created a chemical race in the salmon industry, featuring substances that are most likely harmful to consumers.
There is also a concern that sea lice would wipe out the wild salmon population. Researchers have found dead wild salmon along rivers, covered in the same parasites. Until this problem is solved, the entire salmon population is on the brink of extinction.
The future of salmon farming
As the demand for salmon increases, people in this industry should find a way to keep up with demand and make sure the process is sustainable. The last thing anybody would like to see is more exploitation of natural resources or animal cruelty.
Just like with land farming, pests, and diseases will always be a problem. How these issues are solved is the primary concern. Some fish farms have tried building a tunnelling system that wipes sea lice of the fish. It looks fascinating, but the hard truth is, most fish farms prefer using chemical solutions. It is the easiest way to get the job done with little overhead costs.