By Clare Backman, Director of Sustainable Programs, Marine Harvest Canada
Is it really necessary to take time away from growing our fish to educate the public about fish farming? I mean, we can sell all the fish we grow so what’s the problem? Well, the public’s understanding about salmon farming is shaped by what people hear about this business and people are hearing a lot of the wrong stuff. When a popular dramatic TV series like Breaking Bad includes an offhand comment about manipulating the colour of their meth-lab drugs in the same way that farmed salmon is “dyed to look Flamingo pink” it suggests that more education is needed after all!
And why does the public seem to remember all the negative stuff they hear but the good seems to go unnoticed? As we’ve all heard “Bad news is already half way around the world before good news even gets its boots on.” This article is about how we talk to others about Marine Harvest salmon: maybe part of “Leading the Blue Revolution” means always having our boots on.
First and foremost be ready to explain that what we are doing is raising animals and we’re doing it very well: feeding them a nutritious diet, providing a comfortable living environment and keeping them safe from disease, parasites and predators. Then consider that the fish we are nurturing will in turn nurture the health of millions of other people. Yes it’s a business and yes it’s a job but the end product of our labour is great tasting food that is famous for its health benefits. As North Americans include more of our salmon into their diets they will feel stronger, have more energy and their skin and hair will be more youthful looking. Can there be more? Yes there is more – they will also live longer!
Next, let’s be clear about the wholesomeness of the food we are growing. Ten years ago a report was written that said farm-raised salmon had less nutrients than wild salmon. True or not, Marine Harvest charted a path forward to measure these nutrients to make sure that our salmon provide a healthy level of healthy omega 3 oils. Today, Marine Harvest salmon has the same or greater nutrients than wild-caught Pacific salmon. For decades experts have told us that salmon is a far more heart healthy protein choice than pork or beef.
Finally, by raising salmon you are not only providing consumers with a healthy food choice and helping to conserve the diminishing wild salmon stocks; you are helping avoid a looming global crisis. Experts warn that there is a world food shortage coming and those who are engaged in growing and providing food are the undisputed rock stars of our future. So be proud that you are part of the solution to this problem. Be damn proud!
To read past articles about the Blue Revolution visit:
Part 1: A personal view. By Vincent Erenst: http://www.marineharvestcanada.com/blog/2013/09/10/leading-the-blue-revolution-a-personal-view/
Part 2: Adapt. Innovate. Overcome. By James Gaskill: http://www.marineharvestcanada.com/blog/2013/09/10/leading-the-blue-revolution-part-2-adapt-innovate-overcome/