Friday, May 11, 2007

Wild salmon fed melamine-contaminated feed

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.

Image: feeding time for some so-called "wild" salmon.


Anonymous said...

Actually 30 to 40% of adults are hatchery produced. Alaska releases over a billion smolts to pasture every year

Mark Powell said...

30 to 40% includes chum and pinks, right? Is that statewide? Thanks for the info, it's hard to come by good figures on hatchery proportions in the catch.