So yes, we are farmers and we are fisherman/fisherwoman, but the two are very separate. One involves seeds, soil and animals, and the other involves a boat, a net, and WILD, FREE fish! We catch all of our fish from our own personal commercial fishing boat. It is a 32 foot, aluminum bow picker. It is a little rough cosmetically but is one hell of a fishing boat cruising at about 25 knots.
Here is what a typical day of fishing for us would look like. We get up and drive out to the fishing grounds around 5 AM (we get to sleep longer because we have a fast boat!) We look for fish jumping out of the water, nice current rips and a nice opening with no other boats in front of us. Then we position to set our nets when we are scheduled to open. We typically will fish 6 AM to at least 6 PM. We let out our 1200 ft net and drift with the currents catching salmon that are heading towards the river to spawn. We pull the net back on board, pick all of the salmon out of the net and place them in holds with ice and sea water to refrigerate them until the end of the day.
When we are closed for the day, we head back to the river where we unload our fish into an insulated tote with ice on our truck. Next we drive that tote of fish to our processor where the fish are cleaned, packaged and flash frozen. We store our fish in a freezer until it is shipped out and VIOLA! That is how we deliver the freshest product possible that is ALWAYS wild and free and NEVER farmed!
But this blog isn't about how we fish it's about farmed fish- namely salmon. There are many hatcheries and fish farms that raise trout and carp and do it in a way that it is totally contained and does not affect other bodies of water or wild animals. Therefore, I have no qualms with this if there is minimal pollution involved and the ecosystem is not affected. People can choose what they want to put in their bodies and if farmed carp is appealing to some and people are making an honest living at it, then enjoy it! I personally don't like the idea of nature being altered so I wouldn't buy it, but that's a whole other topic. So here is what we know about farming SALMON anyways...
Farming salmon involves using large pens which are nets placed in the ocean which can contain up to a million salmon in an area the size of two football fields. These fish are suffering from disease, dying and contaminating the rest of the salmon within the pen not to mention our wild salmon which are running near by. Wild fish are eating what food flows out of the pens exposing them to antibiotics, colorant and whatever else they add to the farmed salmon feed. One of the biggest problems with salmon farms is sea lice! This parasite attaches to wild salmon fry nearby farming pens and they are too young to survive. They die and so the salmon runs decline or disappear all together! It's super sad guys! I attached a video that explains how sea lice are detrimental when the natural salmon cycle is interrupted.
Farming salmon just does not make sense to me and many Alaskans. Luckily, Alaska has outlawed farming of any finned fish because they were concerned it would be harmful to our wild salmon runs and our ecosystem. And they were right. So many animals depend on salmon to survive. When disease and antibiotics are being spread through out, it spreads to animals and us. There are so many reasons why you should never buy farmed salmon. For health reasons, environmental reasons and even the harm it does to our small family businesses.
The value of our wild salmon fisheries has dramatically decreased over the decades. From 1980 to 2005 the value of annual Alaskan salmon catches wet from $800 million to $300 million.** This value dropped not because of a decline in salmon harvest but because of lower salmon prices with the rising competition from the farmed salmon industry. Commercial fishing, is the livelihood of many Alaskans and I personally know families (including ourselves) who are impacted by these politics; the decrease in our salmon prices has been a significant blow to take. We may not allow salmon farms in Alaska but we are still directly affected by this industry on a financial level.
But the good news is that because Alaska doesn't allow farming of any finned fish, our salmon streams are disease free and our fry are surviving and thriving each season and still return! So our fish are healthy and wild - The best kind!
Bottom line is, man should not interfere with God's natural design and farming salmon is destroying the ecosystem. Please be aware and make sure you know where your fish is coming from.
I have attached a few videos from Alexandra Morton because she has spent a great deal of time researching this industry and the effects it has on our waters. She started out studying Killer Whales in British Columbia and later began studying salmon farms. She is legit. I really like her and recommend checking out more of her videos on YouTube. There are so many negative side affects from this industry, that I can not help but wonder why this even became a way of life. It all boils down to money and it is a very sad thing.
Support wild salmon, friends!
(This video explains the effects of sea lice and how farmed salmon
is killing our wild salmon and what you can do to help!)
(This is a video article created by the New York Times)
(In this video, she shoes live footage of salmon in a farmed salmon pen)
The New York Times. "Science: Alexandra Morton's Salmon Fight | The New York Times". Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 4 November 2008. Web. 14 March 2017
Twyla Roscovich. "Hard Evidence". Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 27 August 2016. Web. 14 March 2017
Twyla Roscovich. "The Problem with Salmon Farming in BC". Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 21 October 2008. Web. 14 March 2017
The Great Salmon Run (2007). World Wildlife Fund US.
- Amanda Callahan