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May 09, 2007


Mark Powell

How widespread is the problem? Blogfish has some thoughts:

Wild salmon are not safe from the melamine contamination problem. The news keeps getting worse, and it now touches more than 250 salmon farms and "wild" salmon hatcheries in the US and Canada.

A news service has reported that a Canadian fish feed company has recalled feed from 198 US fish farms and hatcheries, and 57 in Canada.

Note that hatcheries are fish farms that produce young salmon that are later sold as "wild" fish. How can this be? The hatchery-produced fish are released into the ocean for a grow-out period and then are availbale to fishermen for catch and sale into the so-called "wild" fish market.

All reports suggest that no salmon are a threat to human health, so maybe the biggest news from this contaminated fish feed scandal is the very loose definition of "wild" in the salmon marketplace.

Up to 90% of salmon sold as "wild" is actually salmon raised in fish farms for up to one year or sometimes more. The proportion of hatchery fish among "wild" salmon varies with region and species. Your best bet for finding true "wild" salmon is chinook, sockeye, or coho salmon from Alaska. For these fish, it appears that less than 10% are raised in hatcheries.

For more info on the origins of so-called "wild" salmon, go to blogfish May 9 and May 10.

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John Sackton

  • Founder of News. I have 30 years in the seafood industry. Started in New England. My work with Baader in the 1980's introduced me to the global industry. Started my own Internet business in 1994. Survived the dot com boom / bust by being honest. Partnered with Urner Barry, and built News into our flagship product. Also do a lot of speaking and consulting on market issues, price forecasts and outlook. Currently I work for both harvesters and processors in the crab and shrimp industry in Newfoundland, and the crab industry in Alaska. My personal goal is to contribute to the sustainable growth of the entire seafood industry - which occupies a unique and special place in the lives of everyone who is a part of it.