Healthy Oceans. Healthy Communities.

Demystifying organic salmon

June 8, 2012

There is a cloud of mystery and a fair amount of ‘greenwash’ swirling around the topic of organic certification of farmed salmon. Let’s cut the confusion. Is such a thing possible?

No. Net-cage salmon farming violates every principle you ever associated with ‘organics’.
In spite of this, ‘Canadian Organic Aquaculture Standard’ salmon will soon be appearing on supermarket shelves and restaurant menus.

This ‘Organic’ Aquaculture Standard will allow:

xThe use of synthetic pesticides
xThe continued, uncontrollable spread of disease and parasites to wild fish
xUncontrolled disposal of fish feces into the ocean
xEscapes of farmed fish that compete or interbreed with wild fish
xEntanglement, drowning deaths and ‘legal’ shootings of marine mammals
xThe unrestricted use of feed from non-organic, potentially unsustainable sources as opposed to the 100 percent organic feed requirement currently in place for all other organic livestock
xThe unlimited use of wild fish in feed which contributes to a net loss of marine protein and a drain on already strained global fish stocks.

Closed containment tanks can greatly reduce or eliminate these environmental risks and are more compatible with organic principles, but their use is not required by the new standard.
Living Oceans Society and more than 60 groups and 1,500 individuals asked the Canadian General Standards Board to raise the standards for farmed salmon. The only concession made was to prohibit the use of antibiotics.

“The process was flawed from the beginning,” said Kelly Roebuck, Sustainable Seafood Campaign Manager. “It began behind closed doors inside DFO and was only opened up to selected groups late in the day. The Board worked with a committee stacked full of government and industry representatives. Little wonder our “no” votes did not carry the day.”

Fair is fair. Say ‘no’ to ‘organic’ farmed salmon. Learn more at