By Bill Wareham, Senior Marine Conservation Specialist
You may have heard your fill about farmed salmon, but I want to tell you an exciting story about one of Canada's leading retailers, which is asking you to fill up on a new farmed salmon product.
After listening to years of debate in British Columbia, this company recognized the problems with open net pen farmed salmon and began looking for an alternative. SeaChoice and many other sustainable seafood programs in North America recommend against buying farmed salmon from open net pens due to negative effects this practice has on the health of our oceans, particularly the proliferation of sea lice and their devastating effect on juvenile wild salmon.
Believing that aquaculture is going to be part of our food security solution, the challenge for the company and SeaChoice was to find producers that farmed fish in a sustainable manner. This is where things get interesting.
In searching for alternative seafood options to meet their commitment to marketing sustainable seafood, the Overwaitea Food Group secured a supply of sustainably farmed salmon branded as "Sweet Spring" from a company in Washington State. These folks produce Coho salmon in an innovative land based closed containment system that uses a freshwater recirculation system, significantly reducing the environmental damage associated with traditional salmon farming. SeaChoice assessed this product and ranked it as a sustainable "Best Choice".
Beginning this Earth Day, Overwaitea Food Group will begin selling this sustainable Coho salmon in their Save-On Foods, PriceSmart, Overwaitea Foods, Urban Fare and Cooper's Foods stores throughout BC and Alberta. I think this is great news, demonstrating that there are creative alternatives for consumers looking for sustainable seafood.
If you're a fish eater, I recommend that you seek out and purchase this sustainably produced Coho salmon and help create a demand that enables closed system salmon producers to grow and profit from a great idea.