Monday, January 30, 2006

Farmed Salmon vs Wild Salmon in the Pacific Northwest

One of the biggest debates in the Pacific Northwest region has been the issues surrounding farmed salmon versus wild salmon. Salmon is one of the most important sources of food in the Pacific Northwest. Other wildlife and the Northwest Native Indian population has relied on salmon fish for hundreds of years. Salmon fish is also a big industry now in the Pacific Northwest.

There are many issues and controversies with the many salmon farms in the area. Statistically, farmed salmon now provides 2/3 of the world's demand for salmon. Farmed salmon have resulted in larger fish compared to their wild counterparts which is a welcomed feature. Farmed salmon are affordable, consistent and available year round where wild salmon are seasonal. The existence of salmon farms which provides needed employment for many Pacific Northwest locals, also reduce the demand on wild salmon stocks.

However, supporters for wild salmon claim that farmed salmons bring parasites and disease to the wild salmon population. These groups say that the salmon farms produce waste products and chemicals that leak out to the ocean which result in environmental problems. The use of antibiotics and other chemicals in farmed salmon also raises health concerns for humans. Economically, salmon farms increase the competition levels against wild salmon fishermen.

Some consumers of salmon fish claim that since wild salmon are likely to be more active with their difficult journeys back to their spawning streams, the texture of their meat is more desired from a dining point of view compared to the farmed salmon which are not as active since they are kept inside pens.

The debates surrounding farmed salmon and wild salmon continues. In the meantime, the Pacific Northwest Native Indian artists continue to acknowledge the importance of salmon fish in their culture and environment by producing excellent artwork using the salmon as subjects. See Pacific Northwest Native Indian Art Salmon Carvings for great examples.

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