FTT #3

Salmo domesticus is a term that applies to the farming or “domestication” of salmon.  I loved this section of the chapter.  I had no idea how fish farming evolved, and Paul Greenberg explained it very well.  According to Greenberg, In the 1960’s, Norwegian brothers Sivert and Ove Grontvedt began collecting Atlantic salmon juveniles and raising them in nets suspended in the fjords of Hitra, Norway.  This was done in response to the dwindling stocks of wild Atlantic salmon throughout the world.  Seeing the success the Grontvedt brothers were having with cultivating fish, Norwegian animal breeder Trygve Gjedrem decided to apply the same breeding techniques that were being used in agriculture (trait selecting) to the breeding process with farmed Atlantic salmon.  It took only 14 years for the Norwegians to double the growth rate of these fish.  By 1971, Norway’s Salmo domesticus were being shipped to starving countries all over the world.

I have very mixed feelings regarding Salmo domesticus.  I think the concept of fish farms is pretty incredible, and started out with all the right intentions.  On one hand, the fact that Atlantic salmon are now being produced in countries that never before had this option, is pretty amazing.  On the other hand, the waste being produced, the hormones and antibiotics being fed to the fish, and the pesticides being used are creating environmental and health concerns.  However, I believe these farms are ultimately a good thing.  Wild fish are diminishing, and as long as cultivators can find a way to keep a species alive, without wreaking havoc on the environment, then I believe fish farms could be beneficial as a consumer product.

One thought on “FTT #3”

  1. Hi Zosha,
    I agree with you that the concept of fish farming is incredible because I believe it highlights an aspect of human ingenuity. That being said, I would have to disagree on it actually being beneficial in the short or long run, unless there are some drastic changes.

    The first issue with farmed fish is that some are grown in areas that they are not indigenous to and pose a great threat to local marine populations as an invasive species. While yes the shipping live salmon to impoverished countries did produce an industry that could feed people. However, the damage done to local ecosystems, when the farmed salmon escape, is likely irreversible and will have greater consequences to those countries in the long run.

    The dangers associated with escaping farmed salmon has greater consequences to wild salmon populations. With the farmed salmon being significantly larger than their wild brethren they eat up all of the food in the area and then are unable to reach the spawning grounds. As a result, the wild salmon are “eaten out of house and home” and die off. The once salmon filled rivers become empty and the ecosystem is permanently changed.

    As I mentioned in my post, I believe that the biggest issue is that fish farming itself is a consumer industry. Salmon are now a commodity that people are willing to pay and industry is willing to do anything to get that money. The industry uses growth hormones because bigger salmon means more pounds of fish to sell. The antibiotics and pesticides keep the salmon alive long enough to grow to those large sizes. In both cases let the consumer be dammed, if they develop health problems the pharmaceutical industry can make some money.

    For any of the negative consequences to ever be solved government officials need act for the benefit of the people not the money of the corporations. This won’t happen unless crucial laws are put in place that make it impossible for under the table deals to be conducted. One law making it illegal for former industry employees to work on government regulation boards in that industry would help. Also a law against former members of government regulations boards being hired by the industry that they regulated.

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