Over the past week there has been a steady stream of news stories coming out of Norway examining the potential impact of farmed salmon on human health. Norway is the mother of salmon farming, it was started by Norsk Hydro, Norway's largest public company. The salmon feedlot industry in British Columbia is 98% Norwegian-owned, and one of the companies is largely owned by the Norwegian government itself, Cermaq.
So when Norway turns on its own problem child, it might be time to pay attention. I was living in a remote coastal floathouse community when salmon feedlots moved in and pushed us off the map, so my focus has been on their impact on wild fish, whales and communities. I never looked into the human health threats, but now, reading these articles, I am utterly flabbergasted that Canada has bent over backwards to give this dirty industry access to the pristine waters of this coast that can produce clean, Omega-3 rich food that nourishes us and our home.
The articles below were all published in Norwegian, but I have translated them via online translators. I don't know if there are more of these articles coming, but I will update this site if they do. Bon Appetite!
UPDATE JUN 19 Russia is not at all pleased at how Norway is handling the issue of toxins in farm salmon, saying they are going on vacation, but that this will be resolved in September Russia in new salmon dispute with Norway
"Russia fears that Norwegian salmon is unsafe and is critical of Norwegian food security."
"The 4 big foodstore chains in Norway threathen to ban farmed salmon from their foodstores if the fishfarmers do not change their production to closed pens and guarantees that the fish are safe to eat... “Today we shall have ligthly salted cod, and for tomorrow I have bought a filleted trout” – says Unni Flatholm – one of the many shoppers in Lagunen Storcenter in Bergen.
She never buys farmed salmon.” No – I don´t like it – we never know what we are getting” – says Unni Flatholm. Elin Moe Ranzinger shares her concern. “I want to know what substances in the fish I expose my family members to. I am not interested in fish treated with antibiotics – so I do not buy farmed fish – she says.
She finds it scary that the fishfarming industry for years have struggled with diseases, salmon lice and pollution... “Sometimes the law and regulations protects you from a legal standpoint. But responsible companies should see further than that. They should look forward and see what they are leaving behind for the next generations. "
Jun 10,2013 Scientists warn against eating farmed salmon
"I do not recommend pregnant women, children or young people to eat farmed salmon. It is uncertain in both the amount of toxins salmon contain, and how these drugs affect children, adolescents and pregnant, says specialist Anne-Lise Birch Monsen clinical department at Haukeland University Hospital of VG.
She points out that the type of contaminants that have been detected in farmed salmon, has a negative effect on brain development and is associated with autism, AD / HD and reduced IQ.
High levels of pollutants
A large European study involving about 8,000 newborns, shows that pregnant women with high levels of toxins in the body have children with lower birth weight, which may have an adverse on child health.
Birch Monsen also gets support from his colleague Bjorn Bolann, physician and professor of medicine."
June 10, 2013 "claimed senior Claudette Bethune at the National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES) the FSA minimize the risks of eating farmed salmon.
She told the media that the Food Safety Authority recommendations on how much salmon is safe to eat, exceeds the World Health Organisation has set for poison ingestion."
• Norway started with salmon aquaculture in the 70s. Production has tripled to 1.183 million tonnes from 1998 to 2012.
• Norway salmon exports to 97 countries worldwide. The value of exports was 29.6 billion.
• Consumption of fish and other seafood in Norway is higher than in many other countries. On average, Norwegians eat fish equivalent of two fish meals per week.
• MatforskningselskapetNofima writes that high levels of contaminants have been found in several fish species caught in northern European waters, and hence also in fishmeal and fish oil that are based on industry and fish by-products.
• Contaminants in fish comes from the fish eat and fish meal and fish oil are the main source of these substances in formulated feed, type Nofima.
Sources: Scientific Committee for Food, laksefakta.no, Nofima.
Norwegians have become a salmon-eating peoples, and farmed salmon has become the new favorite people.
Just last year Norway produced about 60 percent of the world production of Atlantic salmon, which is equivalent to 1.1836 million tons of fish.
Norwegian health authorities recommend Norwegians to eat seafood three times a week. But it is far from anyone who thinks farmed salmon should have a permanent seat at the dinner table.
- Salmon feed harmful
Consultant Anne-Lise Birch Monsen clinical department at Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, is one of the six independent health experts VG has spoken to.
She advises several groups having farmed salmon in their diet at all.
- I do not recommend pregnant women, children or young people eating farmed salmon. It is uncertain in both the amount of toxins salmon contains and how these drugs affect children, adolescents and pregnant, says Birch Monsen told VG.
She refers to the so-called persistent organic pollutants (POPs), such as salmon fed the fish farm, and believe these are harmful to young bodies - especially infants.
- The type of contaminants that have been detected in farmed salmon have a negative effect on brain development and is associated with autism, AD / HD and reduced IQ. We also know that they can affect other organ systems in the body's immune system and metabolism, says Birch Monsen.
According superior transfer the harmful contaminants, which are not necessarily dangerous for a human adult, the newborn through breast milk.
- The substances are stored in fat tissue, and when you are pregnant and starting to breastfeed, then mobilized a lot of fat that makes toxins transmitted to the child.
- If you start eating salmon when you are small and are pregnant when you are 25, you have a pretty significant stock in the body already, says Birch Monsen.
She explains that the toxins stored largely in the fat on the human body.
- And decay time is long. At ten years broken only half of the pops-toxins down. When women have children, they detoxify: Up to 94 percent of the toxins will then disappear from the female body. What is worrying is that very much of it disappears into breast milk, which is bold and good.
- It means that your baby gets a "toxic load" from the mother has been taking over the last 10-20 years, and the beginning of life, which we warn strongly against. Therefore we do not recommend that pregnant women eat farmed salmon, ie salmon, because pretty much everything we offered the salmon is farmed, says Birch Monsen.
- There are substances in farmed salmon as it is not set limits, it just means that you do not have sufficient knowledge of these and they can also be potentially harmful substances. We believe it is necessary to have a precautionary thinking.
- Contaminants that we are talking about providing permanent damage to the organism and is associated with autism, ADHD, disorders of the immune system and the endocrine system.
June 10, 2013 Fisheries Minister Responds on Farm Salmon
"Is Norwegian farmed salmon dangerous eating for children and pregnant? Conservative economic policy spokesman Svein please tick fisheries minister responding in Parliament... He believes there is reason to take seriously the warning raised by doctors in Monday's VG. Contaminants in farmed salmon can harm brain development, it is argued. "
June 10, 2013 Swimming corncob and environmental swine - but healthy
"The content of Omega-3 in salmon is indeed halved in ten years. This is because the feed salmon eat eventually contain more and cheaper vegetable ingredients. That is why we can rightly call farmed salmon a "swimming corncob"... the Norwegian food production has four Norwegian feed producers now have an exemption to use 19 different genetically modified ingredients in their feed. Genetic modification (GM) is very controversial, and completely excluded in Norwegian agriculture."
June 10, 2013 Started salmon fight at the cabin
"Birch Monsen confirms that her interest in salmon farming and the impact of pollutants began through a protracted dispute over the location of a fish farm at the farm she and her husband have the Ålfjorden in Sveio.
- In connection with this matter, I began to look at the environmental pollution, and so I started to look at what effect this had on the children, she said."
June 11, 2013 Full Confidence that salmon are safe to eat
"Health Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (Labour) says he trusts NFSA's assessment that it is safe to eat farmed salmon.... Health Minister wanted first to comment on the case where several doctors in Bergen went out in VG Monday and warned against eating farmed salmon because of pollutants salmon ingest through food."
June 15, 2013 The salmon do not escape, it is dumped!
"This sensational and shocking information has come to my attention received from sources who do work in the industry. They believe that at least 95% of escapes due to disease outbreaks in fish farms, and the owners do not have to take the costs of such outbreaks entails. First comes the loss of having to slaughter the entire population, and then comes the loss of income by having to leave the resort lie fallow for up to two years to remove all infections.
They may in fact not start over with a new stand in the same place during this quarantine period, and licenses does not necessarily move the facility the required kilometers. By simply cutting the ropes and let the fish "escape" gets the other hand the loss covered by insurance, and can immediately start again with a new hatchery. "
June 16, 2013 Now authorities warn against too much salmon
"We have reviewed the Scientific Committee report again and looked at the recommendations that were there and how this was discussed in the report of the National Nutrition Council in 2011. There, they discussed all research related to toxicology and health effects thoroughly, and we have based our evaluations on their report. They did not provide this clarification. Now we see that there is a need for clarifications to pregnant women and young women. We see that our advice may create uncertainty, and we want to be as clear as possible, Klepp says to Dagbladet. - Why has it taken seven years to figure this out? - How to fish consumption was then, this was not a problem. We still do not believe it is a big problem. According Norkostundersøkelsen from 2010-2011 consume more than half of young women salmon, on average, they eat 260 grams of fish per week. Yet it is an important clarification, now like sushi has become a fashion right. More can then reach a large intake over time, which can lead to increased health risks. But there is still room for that most can eat more than they actually do, says Klepp. "
June 17, 2013 Norway Lobbied to Raise Toxin Level in Salmon Feed
"After yesterday’s debate on the danger of eating farmed salmon due to high level harmful pollutants, it was revealed Norwegian authorities have lobbied in EU to allow more toxin level in salmon. According to Aftenposten’s report, Norway has for years tried to get the EU to allow ten times more toxin (Endosulfan) in salmon than previously allowed. Now, Norway has received approval in the EU. In the consultation document from the FSA shows that there are economic reasons why Norway is eager to raise the limit.
"The limit value for the concentration of endosulfan in feed for salmonids is of great economic importance for the aquaculture industry in the short and longer term," stated in the letter.
Endosulfan was previously forbidden to use in feed for all salmonids, but research has shown that fish can withstand poison through better feed than by being exposed to it in the water."
Endosulfan is bioaccumulating pesticide from the DDT-era that attacks the nervous system, increases risk of autism and cause male human reproductive system birth defects.
What are they thinking. Is it so important to make the shareholders money that we have to accept this risk to human health?
LATE BREAKING NEWS: Article just out today in Intrafish states; "The Norwegian Directorate of Health (NDH) has issued a statement on the role of fish in an average diet... If one has eaten more that the recommended amount of oily fish this does't necessarily constitute a risk to your health, but it reduces the safety margins, which are extensive..."
You can see from this chart below taken from the Pure Salmon website, reporting from the USDA database that farm salmon are MUCH fatter (oilier) than wild salmon.
In the middle of this the BC Salmon Farmer's Association is using pictures of children to market their fish, featuring a picture of a farm fillet under the type exhibiting the wide, white fat bars that are the focus of the concern out of Norway.
Want to help? Consider the Feedlot Salmon Boycott