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Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall tackles farmed salmon feed controversy

The Eciologist – Tom Levitt
11th January, 2011

Channel 4 series will look at ecological cost of producing millions of tonnes of fishmeal for Scottish salmon farms – first revealed by the Ecologist back in 2008


The murky world of fishmeal production and how it is used by Scottish salmon farms is to be exposed by campaigner and author Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

A three-part TV series, ‘Hugh’s Fish Fight’, starting on Channel 4 tonight, will look at the British fishing industry and explore why fish stocks are in such rapid decline.

Based partly on the groundbreaking Ecologist investigation, ‘The greed of feed’, from 2008, the programme will focus on the salmon industry in Scotland and how it is reliant on imported fishmeal linked to unsustainable practices.

The Ecologist previously travelled to Peru, the world’s leading exporter, supplying 28 per cent of the UK’s fishmeal, and documented a host of unreported environmental and social costs – including pollution and health problems, overfishing, and impacts on ecosystems and wildlife – all arising from the production of fishmeal and fish oil, principal ingredients in farmed salmon feed.

Salmon production requires huge amounts of fishmeal – an estimated 4kg of wild fish is needed for every 1kg of farmed fish produced. However, the ecological impacts of fishmeal production and the consequences for communities who are losing sources of fish for themselves, has left many to question whether it is sustainable.
‘The salmon we produce is eaten by the mouths of people in the USA and Europe, but the asshole is here in Latin America,’ Jean Carlos Cardenas of Ecoceanos told The Ecologist. ‘The true cost of the cheap salmon you eat is being paid with the blood of our people and the health of our oceans.’