Why do we farm salmon?

Without salmon farming in aquaculture, wild fish are at risk of overfishing

Fish are the world’s largest traded food commodity.

Our oceans cannot supply the increased demand for healthy seafood, therefore we need salmon farming, along with all other seafood farming. Similar to what has happened on land over thousands of years, we are now farming the seas, instead of hunting species to extinction.

With countries like Canada leading the way, aquaculture provides a healthy seafood for domestic markets, as well as growing exports to countries that are seeing a rise in household income.

The FAO of the UN predicts that the world’s population will reach 9.7 billion by 2050, with the need for protein expected to grow by 40% worldwide. The UN, however, estimates actual demand to double.[i] Fish, particularly farmed salmon, can offer one solution to meeting this increased demand. As demand increases there will no doubt be increased pressure on the already over-exploited wild fish reserves, which is why farmed fish is required to efficiently manage and maintain both wild fish stocks and the ocean’s natural biodiversity. It is important that the farmed salmon industry ensures sustainability is at the core of their operations if they are to meet this demand in a sustainable manner.

In addition to growing populations, the demand for fish is increasing as governments and food and health advisory boards are actively encouraging people to consume more fish as part of a healthy and balanced diet.[iii][iv] Farmed salmon is most commonly recognized for its high levels of Omega-3 content, but is also a good source of high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals, so is often a healthy meal choice for many consumers.[v]

Farmed salmon is also a highly efficient source of protein production, and continues to outperform other protein sectors (chicken, beef, pork) when it comes to key data such as feed conversion ratios, protein retention and carbon footprint – see the GSI Sustainability Report for more detail. With this in mind, it is clear that the farmed salmon industry can make a key contribution to balancing the needs of feeding the growing global population, as well as meeting the demand for healthy and sustainable protein production.