Pure Salmon Campaign levels mismanagement charges at Marine Harvest
For the past week, representatives of the global Pure Salmon Campaign coalition have been in Norway meeting with Members of Parliament, salmon farmers, scientists, financial analysts, journalists, river owners and others, accusing the world's largest salmon producer, Marine Harvest, of adversely affecting the environment.
Citing disease outbreaks and labor problems at Marine Harvest in Chile, the group claims sea lice continue to plague the company's Canadian operations. "Marine Harvest's open net pen salmon farms act as incubators for parasites such as sea lice that can decimate wild salmon populations sharing the same waters".
"These same open net salmon pens allow thousands of fish at a time to escape easily when there are rough seas and high waves. Other small scale escapes, dubbed "leakage" by the industry, occur daily from poorly maintained pens".
"While massive escapes often make headline news, the daily, unreported leakages from open net salmon farms can be equally devastating to the surrounding marine ecosystem," said Alex Munoz, vice president of Oceana Chile. "Aquaculture companies, including Marine Harvest, have done little to address this growing environmental threat. The industry needs to adopt better technology to dramatically reduce the number of escapes before it's too late."
In a press release, the group said John Fredriksen, Marine Harvest's controlling shareholder, has stated that Marine Harvest should relocate open net pen salmon farms from areas that interfere with wild fish.
The release goes on to state that the fish feed issue is yet another problem affecting the farmed salmon industry and cites a 2000 study in the journal Nature, which claimed that more than three pounds of wild fish (anchovies, herring, sardines, menhaden) are needed to produce one pound of farmed salmon.
"Marine Harvest has yet to develop a viable, long-term strategy to manage environmental problems associated with salmon farming," said Don Staniford, European Representative of the Pure Salmon Campaign coalition. "Marine Harvest must commit to concrete reforms to address these problems and reduce their impact on the environment. The company claims to be the model for sustainability in the aquaculture industry, but it has a long way to go before that rings true."
The Pure Salmon Campaign filed a shareholder resolution with Marine Harvest calling for a special board committee to review environmental practices and how they relate to disease problems. To read the shareholder resolution and supporting statement submitted by the Pure Salmon Campaign, go to http://www.puresalmon.org/pdfs/MarineHarvest2009resolutions.pdf.