We sometimes regard fish farms as a way to raise seafood in a controlled environment, not subject to oceanic pollution and other factors that ravage aquatic populations. But in reality, there’s often a horrible backfire to cultivating artificial populations. According to Environment News Service, as many as 95% of wild salmon migrating past commercial salmon fisheries are devastated by parasites raised within the facilities.
The debate over whether to buy farm-raised or wild salmon has long been a hot one, with many eco-conscious lox lovers opting for the wild-caught variety. But that may not be an option much longer, thanks to some tiny tagalongs. The Environment News Service reports that deadly sea lice have been feasting upon the flesh of juvenile wild salmon on their way out to sea. It sounds like a Halloween horror story, and indeed there is a daunting villain: the massive commercial fish farm industry. According to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “[p]arasites from fish farms kill as much as 95 percent of young wild salmon that migrate past the facilities.”
It’s ironic. Build a fishery to create sustainable artificial populations, and in the process end up devastating the remaining natural population.