Fish billionaire blames fish farms for wild salmon decline.

image: feed silo for fish farm in Scotland.

UK – The world’s largest seafood company is coming under intense pressure to shift its fish farms further out to sea after its largest shareholder claimed the industry was helping to kill off wild salmon and trout populations.

A coalition of 32 conservation, angling and aboriginal peoples’ groups from the UK, Canada, Norway, Ireland, Iceland and the United States has written an open letter to Marine Harvest, which produces a third of the world’s farmed fish, urging it to ban fish farms from wild salmon and trout rivers.

John Fredriksen, a Norwegian shipping and oil industry billionaire who owns a 29 per cent share of Marine Harvest, surprised anglers and conservationists by directly linking fish farms to plunging wild fish populations – a link the industry has repeatedly disputed. A keen angler who is reputedly worth £3.5bn and has a home in Chelsea, he told a Norwegian newspaper earlier this year: “I am concerned about the future for wild salmon. Fish farming should not be allowed in fjords with salmon rivers.”

The letter’s signatories, who include Friends of the Earth Scotland, several British anglers’ associations and Canadian “first nation” groups from British Columbia, said they applauded Mr Fredriksen’s remarks, adding: “Sea lice, infectious diseases and genetic and ecological interactions of escaped farmed salmon with wild salmon are a serious threat to the future of both wild Atlantic and Pacific salmon.”


Some communities such as the one called COAST, who represent people of Ayrshire, have been contesting a new industrial scale Marine Harvest fish farm in their area based on a wider variety of environmental factors such as visual pollution and threats to marine and bird life. More here.

This entry was posted in Biodiversity, Business, Disease, Food & Agriculture, Nature & Conservation, Oceans, Sustainablity. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Fish billionaire blames fish farms for wild salmon decline.

  1. earthpal says:

    Is this a case of intensive fish farming to meet consumer demand?

    Consumers who like their fish should probably be choosing to buy … erm … salmon-friendly salmon then.

    Seriously though, I would hope that samlon-eaters would buy ethically and choose eco-labelled salmon only.

  2. matt says:

    It’s not long ago that I was a mystified shopper (as opposed to mystery shopper) trying to understand how it was that salmon had moved from luxury food to an affordable mass consumer product. Then I heard about the fish farm. So it’s a greed thing once again.

    Still, fish farming won’t go away as it replaces collapsed fish stocks from the wild seas. Even cod is farmed now. Organic is probably the concerned consumers best bet but I can’t be sure this approach isn’t also affecting surrounding wild salmon, trout and other fish populations.

    In fact The Pure Salmon Campaign (in the US) disagree with the ‘organic’ label being applied to farmed salmon as is allowed here in Europe;

  3. Pete Smith says:

    It’s pretty much what happened to chicken in the 60s. Battery farming pushed the price right down.

  4. matt says:

    I hadn’t thought of it like that.

    Here’s the ‘background’ info from the Pure Salmon Campaign;
    (it’s only 5 pages).

    They have got a point from what I’ve read.

  5. infinitygoods says:

    It seems to always be about greed. They don’t care about wildlife and they don’t care about what they are feeding us. I understand from doctors that we may as well not eat farmed fish as the nutritional value is minimal. If we are looking for Omega 3, etc. we should only buy wild salmon and wild fish. They have also started engineering salmon from trout and engineering trout from salmon, as crazy as that sounds. The Japanese marine biologist who is behind it, Goro Yoshizaki, said “we can save space, cost and labor.” I wrote a blog about it on September 13, 2007 at, if you’re interested in reading more about it.

  6. matt says:

    Thanks. Sounds like madness. The more we plunder wild foods and stocks the more desperate our solutions will become, only to accelerate the slaughter, unless …. human population declines and greed is controlled by the ‘zero tolerance’ wildlife police!

  7. Pete Smith says:

    That sounds like a good plan Matt 🙂

  8. Pingback: Trout Stage Daring Breakout at Fish Farm « Tipped Ear Clan

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