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B.C. farm-raised salmon among most sustainable farm-raised animals

The B.C. Salmon Farmer\'s Association has released a paper indicating that B.C. farm-raised salmon are among the most sustainable farm raised animals on the market. The paper, titled \"Comparing the Environmental Footprint of B.C.’s Farm-Raised Salmon to Other Food Protein Sources,\" examines the evidence from the literature on the environmental impact of ocean netpen farm-raised salmon versus other protein sources and, based on the evidence, develops estimates of the overall environmental footprint of farm-raised salmon in B.C. compared to production of other food proteins.

October 19, 2016


The B.C. Salmon Farmer\'s Association has released a paper indicating that B.C. farm-raised salmon are among the most sustainable farm raised animals on the market. 

The paper, titled \"Comparing the Environmental Footprint of B.C.’s Farm-Raised Salmon to Other Food Protein Sources,\" examines the evidence from the literature on the environmental impact of ocean netpen farm-raised salmon versus other protein sources and, based on the evidence, develops estimates of the overall environmental footprint of farm-raised salmon in B.C. compared to production of other food proteins.

Some of the key findings include:

  • Energy Use: Over 90% of cumulative energy use for farm-raised salmon is from feed production. Overall, the evidence indicates that the life-cycle energy intensity for farmraised salmon is better than beef.
  • GHG Emissions: GHG emissions for B.C. farm-raised salmon lower than beef, poultry and pork.
  • Eutrophication Potential: Evidence suggests that B.C. farm-raised salmon has lower eutrophication potential than beef.
  • Water Use: B.C. farm-raised salmon was found to have consistently lower water use than other types of animal farming, using only a small fraction of the water compared to other species.
  • Land Use: Over 90% of land use for farm-raised salmon is from feed production. Overall, studies have found that production of feed for B.C. farm-raised salmon requires much less land than used in the production of most other species.

Another key element in assessing the sustainability of food animal production systems, such as fish, poultry, pork and beef, is the feed conversion ratio, or FCR. For farm-raised salmon, the FCR averages about 1.3:1 worldwide. For B.C. farm-raised salmon, the FCR is estimated to be 1.2:1. This means that to produce 1 kg of B.C. farm-raised salmon, 1.2 kg of feed is required.

B.C. farm-raised salmon’s feed conversion ratio of 1.2:1 has decreased dramatically from previous decades, and is significantly lower than the FCRs for other sources of food protein: poultry (1.7:1 to 1.9:1), pork (2.8:1 to 2.9:1) and beef (6:1 to 9.1:1). In terms of FCR, B.C. farm-raised
salmon are the most efficient of all the commercially raised farm-fed animals.

BCSFA Paper (pdf)

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