Irish Examiner, Letter to the Editor, 18 March 2013: Crazy to label farmed salmon as ‘organic’

Crazy to label farmed salmon as ‘organic’

Monday, March 18, 2013

Is the labelling of farmed salmon “organic” a market ploy to hoodwink consumers?
The ongoing debate between Alaskan fishermen and the American Department of Agriculture is interesting.

The department says that salmon caught in the wild cannot be labelled “organic” as they are migratory fish, therefore it would be impossible to have traceability in regard to what they are feeding on. We all know farmed salmon are fed on fish meal, which is made up of processed fish caught in the wild.

Farmed salmon are also given chemicals to make their flesh look that pinkish colour to mock salmon caught in the wild. Their feed is mixed with antibiotics which helps them deal with lice infestation which they are plagued with as a result of their cramped living in cages.

These lice cause major problems for young wild salmon. Given the arguments one can see that all salmon fishermen are in a David and Goliath situation. Fish farming is now a multi-billion industry and fishermen are competing with them, not only in the fish consumer market but a third of fish caught in the wild are fed to farmed fish!

Knowing this, could the encouragement by the EU for massive fish farms off the west coast not be aiding the depletion of the numbers of fish in the wild? So when is “organic” really organic?

If you use the American Department of Agriculture’s argument then wild duck, rabbit or pheasant could be labelled organic. This is crazy.

Cllr Nuala Nolan
Bowling Green

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