fish report header

Farm Raised Atlantic Salmon

As the population continues to grow, we continue to rely on farming as a necessary method for creating enough food to supply much of the world. Most of the things that are consumed in America including beef, chicken, and garden salads were mass-produced on a farm. In order to keep up with growing demand, it was only a matter of time before we learned to farm salmon in the sea. However, the idea of aquaculture was developed long ago and evidence suggests that aboriginals in Australia were able to harvest eels through the use of aquaculture in 6,000 BC. The use of floating cages for salmon farming originated in Norway in the late 1960's and is now also used in Chile, Canada, the UK, Faroe Islands, Russia and Tasmania. Due to their ability to survive in net pens, approximately 90% of the salmon farmed in the aquaculture industry are Atlantic salmon and consist of more than 50% of all the salmon on the global market.


As the name suggests, North American Atlantic salmon are native to the Atlantic Ocean and historically ranged from as far south as Connecticut and extend all the way up to Northern Quebec. One distinct biological characteristic that separates Atlantic salmon from Pacific salmon is the ability to reproduce more than once. Pacific salmon spawn once in their lifetime, but Atlantic salmon, much like steelhead, are iteroparous and can return to the ocean after spawning. Despite this unique trait, Atlantic salmon populations continue to be low and in 2000 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service listed the species as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.


The use of aquaculture in the salmon market has helped limit the impact of commercial fishing while keeping up with increasing demand. From 1989 to 2004, consumption of wild caught salmon in North America has remained steady at about 50,000 metric tons. During the same 25 years, consumption of farm-raised salmon has increased from about 20,000 metric tons to as much as 200,000 metric tons. As populations continue to increase the demand will continue to rise and, instead of getting fresh salmon only a couple of months out of the year while it's in season, the use of aquaculture has made it possible enjoy fresh filets year round.


As with anything, there are concerns and issues that arise when trying to mass-produce something in a localized area. Most fish farms use pellets for feed that are made from terrestrial crops and contain traces of pesticides and herbicides. Another issue with mass-production is that fish become more susceptible to transmitting diseases in close corridors and, in order to prevent loss of the entire school, they are constantly receiving doses of antibiotics that fend off disease. There is also the concern that unnatural strays of fish could escape the confines of the cages and begin competing for habitat and destroying the genetics of the natural populations. There is no doubt that farm raised salmon can help alleviate the pressure of commercial fishing on wild stocks, but precautions must be taken when trying to mass-produce salmon.

Follow Us!  Like us on Facebook  View our photos on flickr  View our videos on YouTube

email list
Recent Blog Post
A perfect fit... 

After weeks of fabrication, the first of two PIT tag antennas was delivered and installed within a water diversion tunnel on a Northern California stream. This first installation was for the smaller of the two tunnels (12ft. by 15ft.) that we will be monitoring. Constructed from fiberglass, Kevlar, and plastics, the antenna array consists of three antennas that bolt together and operate in unison. With the use of a crane and a highly skilled operator, the three sections were joined together on site and toped with a steel frame that holds the array in position.  The steel frame allows the antenna to be removed once it is completely submerged. With a total height of over 20 ft., the antenna array was lowered through an access hatch on the top of the tunnel. With no room to spare, the antenna array fit snugly within notches in the concrete walls of the tunnel. Once the antenna array was in place, the readers were connected and powered up. With nervous anticipation, the antenna array was tested for detection range and with sigh of relief they operated perfectly... Read more > 

IN THE NEWS: Recent stories you might have missed...
Ecosystem stressors in the Delta: More than just flow
Maven's Manor


For more than two decades, native fishes in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have been declining at a rapid rate with no single identifiable cause. "Stressors" are broadly defined as those factors that can harm native species, and the Delta has a long list of them that includes agricultural and urban discharges, invasive species, altered flows, loss of habitat, and of course, water diversions... Read more>

Jellyfish In Fresno! Rare Sighting In San Joaquin River


A rare sighting in a Fresno river - jellyfish! A fisherman spotted the creatures in a pond off of the San Joaquin River. "We were right over here, and my dad leaned over and saw these white things and said I bet those are jellyfish, just playing around, and he looked over and he said, oh those really are jellyfish," said Timmy LeBar, who was expecting to reel in a fish from the pond his family decided to fish in... Read more>

An anxious wait for fish in the Cowichan River
Times Colonist

At the counting fence on the Cowichan River, members of Cowichan Tribes are anxiously watching as salmon make their way through the fish channel and up to spawning grounds that have been painstakingly restored over the past decade. "Some of the fish are pretty big now. Yesterday, there were just over 200 fish," said fish counter Dan Joe, sitting in a small shed above the fence where fish heading upstream are identified and counted with the help of an underwater camera... Read more > 

Final northern pikeminnow catch figures for the Columbia River
The Seattle Times

Here is the weekly update and final figures on the Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Fishery Program happening on the Columbia River. The harvest total from Sept. 24-30 was 8,467 pikeminnow (8,397 the prior week) from 640 anglers (611 the prior week) for a catch average of 13.2 fish per angler (down slightly from the prior week of 13.4) with six tags recovered (seven the prior week)... Read more > 

Protecting Biodiversity in the Oceans

Live Trading News 

At least 37 countries, including the United States and Mexico, have proposed protections for ten shark and ray species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The U.S. will join Colombia in leading an effort to secure trade measures for the oceanic whitetip shark. In cooperation with at least five other countries and the European Union, Mexico is pursuing protections for three species of hammerheads.. Read more >