How Norwegian Farm Raised Salmon are Killing Your Sushi
By: Dave Asprey
May 23, 2013
In a clean environment, fish is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Most fish is rich in protein, vitamin D, and omega 3 – all essential nutrients for losing weight, increasing performance, and being bulletproof! Unfortunately, because of the Norwegian-led fish-farming industry and modern pollution, its no longer safe to assume you’re eating a nutritious, disease and poison-free fish… unless you know exactly where it came from.
Long story short: Avoid farm raised salmon and fish the same way you avoid industrial red meat, insist on wild-caught sockeye salmon, and boycott Norwegian fish products because their global fish farms have killed 90% of local healthy salmon populations, including the ones 15 minutes from my house. Bastards!
Why wild caught salmon are a godsend, while farm raised salmon are a curse
Wild caught sockeye salmon is one of the most Bulletproof foods:
- One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids – Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to a healthy diet because the body is incredibly bad at manufacturing them on its own, and we know that omega-3 fatty acids upgrade the body by reducing inflammation, helping to reduce the impact of excess omega-6, improving blood circulation, optimizing blood pressure, and healing scar tissue.1
- Great source of protein – Wild caught fish provides high-quality, complete proteins that contain all the necessary amino acid building blocks to build and replace protein in the body. Sockeye salmon actually has slightly more protein than other fish like haddock. Wild caught salmon also tend to have less fat striations compared to farm raised salmon because wild caught fish are healthier, fitter fish overall (See picture above).2
- Highest amounts of antioxidants – Many of the plankton that sockeye salmon eat are bright red (an indicator of high antioxidant content), which is why sockeye salmon have such a bright, deep orange color compared to other salmon (See picture above).3
- Lowest mercury count – Wild caught sockeye salmon have the lowest mercury levels than any other salmon. Its mercury content is extremely low because it lives for a short time in mostly fresh water, and unlike other types of salmon, it eats only plankton – not other fish, which would expose it to the mercury that those fish absorbed.4
- It’s NOT farmed-raised fish – To AVOID mercury, other toxins, and unknown viruses as much as possible, it’s important to stay AWAY from farm raised fish and choose to buy fish that was caught in the wild.
Farm raised fish are a curse on salmon species, food supplies, ecosystems, and potentially our own health. Here’s why5:
- Fed soy and poultry litter – Farmed salmon in particular is fed soy and rendered poultry litter (that’s used for henhouse bedding, complete with chicken manure!). Farm-raised fish are also fed conventionally grown grains that contain harmful pesticides and mycotoxins and are probably GMOs.
- Universally lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids – Like commercial beef, farm-raised fish is often raised on grain feed. This results in the omega-3 fatty acids becoming malformed and mostly devoid of benefit.
- Given high doses of pesticides and antibiotics – A lot like concentrated animal-feeding operations (CAFOs), thousands of farm raised fish are crammed into pens, which leads to the growth of diseases and parasites that require antibiotics and pesticides.
- Disease carrying monsters! – On offshore fish farms, nitrogen and phosphorous from feed and waste lead to algae blooms that create breeding grounds for bacteria, viruses, and diseases. These algae blooms almost always contaminate surrounding waters where native or wild fish live.
Norwegian companies are to blame for disappearance of 90% BC’s wild salmon
In the last decade in British Columbia (where I live), the count of wild sockeye salmon has fallen 90%. These native sockeye salmon are dying mysteriously before they even have the opportunity to spawn. This pre-spawn mortality is epidemic and is basically killing an entire keystone species of salmon. Over 10 million fish have vanished without a trace.6
While investigating this mysterious travesty, researchers and biologists like Alexandra Morton discovered that BC’s wild salmon are testing positive for dangerous European salmon viruses associated with salmon farming worldwide – most notably in Norwegian fish-farming companies.
In 1990, Norwegian fish farming companies put clusters of fish farms all along the narrow channels of BC’s Fraser River, right through wild salmon migration routes, not far from my house. The only salmon run that hasn’t drastically declined is the Harrison Sockeye Salmon because these runs of salmon do NOT go through the fish-farm-filled migration route.
In 1992, the mysterious decline in BC’s native salmon counts began its drastic fall. These close dates are far from a coincidence. Native fish that swim through the channels lined with ecologically destructive Norwegian owned fish farms, are getting infected with at least three newly discovered exotic European viruses!
Because these Norwegian-owned fish farms actually have the right to not allow any virus testing of their fish (corporate evils at its finest), a local dedicated researcher actually had to sit outside one of these fish farms and wait for a bald eagle to swoop in the fish pen, snatch up a fish, and drop it outside the farm so it could be tested for these European viruses (talk about the irony of freedom and red tape). Without surprise, the farmed fish tested positive for a lethal European virus called Piscine Reovirus. When infected with this virus, fish’s hearts basically turn to mush, sabotaging the fish’s ability stay alive long enough to swim up river and spawn.
Piscine Reovirus, ISA (or salmon flu), and Salmon Alphavirus (a virus that causes pancreas disease in fish – a known problem in Norway after having to kill entire farms when infected fish were found) have all been found in Norwegian-owned fish farms and are now killing BC’s native salmon. These lethal viruses are among just a few internally reportable diseases and the Norwegian Companies are not only NOT reporting these disease, they’re refusing to even test for them in their fish farms.
The local fish here are infected with the viruses, and as you’ll see in the documentary below, there is a cover-up and an attempt by industry to prevent testing of local, wild fish. When the fish are tested, they are literally swimming with the viruses. Viruses, but not bacteria, survive the freezing process used for sushi grade farmed salmon. No one knows what these species do to humans.
These Norwegian Companies are killing off the entire species of sockeye salmon in British Columbia, which will starve the bald eagles and bears and an entire ecosystem. Norway is a proud country based on sound social and economic values, but this negligent slaying of native fish is as big of a deal as the Japanese killing whales.
If you care about the environment and the health of our seas, you should refuse to purchase Norwegians products until their government holds the giant Norwegian fish conglomerate companies responsible for the damage they cause worldwide.
This is unspeakably evil not because sushi supplies might go down or something, but because wild salmon in Canada and Alaska are the foundational species to entire ecosystems, food chains, and native cultures. Without native salmon, there are no more bald eagles, no more bears, no more Pacific Northwest as we know it. These salmon bring nutrition back from the ocean and entire ecosystems depend on them. Wild salmon are also a livelihood for the First Nations in Canada and create an entire economy for a lot of other people. With the destruction of wild sockeye salmon, local people are paying the price while Norwegian companies are making profits. If you know about the history of the treatment of Canada’s First Nations tribes, this recent development is even more of a travesty.
What can be done and where to find good salmon
These fish farms are another horrible experiment gone wrong in the corporate food production system and it isn’t going to be monitored by the companies themselves. To take the reins on this situation, consumers must start paying attention to where food comes from because what we eat affects the quality of the entire planet.
If you don’t have time to research where your fish came from, you can at least rely on this rule of thumb: Unless the package says “Wild,” the fish was probably farm-raised and probably not safe to eat (note: “fresh” is not “wild”). With that said, remember that you don’t have to eat meat all the time. If you can’t find wild caught fish, or grass-fed beef, it’s best to resist the temptation to buy farm-raised conventional crap, and just settle on eating a lot of vegetables with grass-fed butter, and maybe some eggs or grass-fed protein powder like Upgraded Whey or Upgraded Collagen. You can get by without protein every day. You’ll be fine.
If your local wild caught salmon options are limited but you still want to reap the incredible health benefits of eating wild caught salmon, there are a couple of options. Alderspring Ranch, the same place I’ve been getting my grass-fed organic beef for nearly a decade, now has Wild By Nature Copper River Sockeye Salmon from Alaska. Food and health lovers in the know recognize Copper River sockeye as the very best. These fish are renowned for their firm rich red flesh, and for their high omega-3 content. So order some sockeye with your next grass fed beef order! Both are amazing.
*Receive 15% off 1 or 3 piece sockeye salmon filets from Alderspring Ranch with this coupon code:
Coupon expires at Midnight on June 2nd!
For more on this story, check out the documentary: Salmon Confidential
- The Omega3 Connection by Andrew L Stoll MD. P. 208
- Holub BJ. Fish oils and cardiovascular disease. CMAJ 1989;141:1063. [MEDLINE]
- Blomhoff R, Carlsen MH, Andersen LF, Jacobs DR Jr. Health benefits of nuts: potential role of antioxidants. Br J Nutr. 2006 Nov;96 Suppl 2:S52-60. 2006. PMID:17125534. for antioxidants and heart health.
- Environmental Working Group article “Mercury in Your Fish,” by Ken Cook President of EWG.
- David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany and publisher of a major study in the journal Science on contamination in fish. http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/health/the-7-foods-experts-wont-eat-547963/