The Increasing Need for Fish
Currently, one in five people on Earth relies on fish as their primary source of protein. Over the next thirty years, that number is going to rise. With our population quickly outpacing food production, the world will experience a seafood shortage of 50 to 80 million tons by the end of the next decade. And by 2050, we’ll see even more changes:
- Animal protein consumption will increase by 73 percent
- Farmable land will per person becomes half of what it was in 1970
- The world’s food supply will need to double
2 Billion People
Global population set to grow by 2 billion people over the next 30 years
1 in 5 People
1 in 5 people rely on fish as their primary protein source
World fisheries are over-exploited and will run out of fish by 2056
We’ll experience a global seafood shortage of 50 to 80 million tons by 2030
Question: Why can’t we farm Pacific salmon?
Answer: Atlantic salmon are much more adaptable to farming because they grow quickly and efficiently, are more docile, and resist disease. There’s also a stronger market demand; broad commercial viability for Pacific salmon remains to be proven. Companies in British Columbia and Chile previously farmed Pacific salmon on a niche basis.
Question: Are farmed fish fed antibiotics?
Answer: In the last 40 years, the FDA approved two antibiotics for fish farms – both are safe and used without residual impacts at hatcheries operated by the state, tribes, and private parties. They’re only used under veterinary prescription and never as a preventative measure.
Question: Do Atlantic salmon compete with Pacific salmon for food?
Answer: Farmed salmon never develop foraging instincts and can’t compete with wild salmon for food or protect their smolt from prey.
Question: Aren't salmon farms just feed lots in the water?
Answer: Salmon exhibit natural schooling behaviors on the farm, and average net pen densities don’t exceed four percent of available space, even when fully grown. Our farmers care deeply for animal welfare and don’t benefit from overstocking – it creates health issues and affects the quality of the final product.
Question: Can farmed salmon colonize native water?
Answer: Atlantic salmon stocks are bred and reared in captivity for generations, making them highly domesticated. In nature, they quickly perish since they can’t efficiently find food or avoid predators. Recaptured Atlantic salmons in Puget Sound were found with empty stomachs and swollen gall bladders, indicating starvation.
Meeting the Demand with Fish Farming
Aquaculture is a responsible method for providing the planet with seafood – it’s already supplying more than half of what we consume. It’s a system that is more productive and also takes the pressure off wild stocks and prevents overfishing. And as technology improves, aquaculture’s sustainability will increase as well.
- Farmed salmon provides nearly 15 billion meals per year worldwide
- Over 50 percent all seafood produced in the world comes from aquaculture
- Salmon farming in Washington produces 17 metric tons of protein per year
A Smarter Plan for Feeding the Planet
Aquaculture allows for more quality seafood production with less strain on land and resources. Ecologically-minded consumers already support local Washington producers of fresh, healthy, low-energy and low-water-intensive protein throughout the state. The numbers don’t lie – fish just need less to produce more.
- More farmed fish is produced in the world than beef
- It only takes 1 kg of feed to produce 1 kg of salmon, compared to the 2:1 ratio for chicken or 10:1 for beef
- Washington’s 17 metric tons generated on only 80 acres
Salmon require significantly less feed than chicken or beef
17 Million Tons
Washington produces 17 metric tons of protein through aquaculture
It takes only 80 acres to provide 17 metric tons of protein
15 Billion Meals
That's 15 billion meals per year worldwide
A Sustainable Responsible Solution
As a 30-year industry in Washington, salmon farming remains consistent with our state’s values of sustainability. We can grow to meet the demands for healthy and affordable seafood.