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.