Salmon are a carnivorous species and fish farms rely on wild caught ‘forage’ fish to feed them.
Australia’s largest salmon farmer, Tassal, currently uses 2 kg of wild caught fish, such as anchovies and sardines, to produce just 1 kg of farmed salmon. There’s no other way to say it — it’s food production in reverse.
Whilst scientists are warning that commercial fishing could see fish populations collapse by 2048, millions of wild fish are being caught and killed to feed fish in farms. More than 15 million tonnes of wild caught fish were turned into ‘fishmeal’ in 2014.
It gets worse. The Southern Bluefin Tuna, farmed in South Australia, also rely on wild caught fish for feed. The Australia Marine Conservation Society suggest that it can take between 10 and 20 kgs of wild caught fish to produce just 1 kg of tuna. What’s more, commercial tuna farms around the world rely on the capture of young tuna from the wild, which are then ‘fattened up’ in pens. Southern Bluefin Tuna have been classified as ‘critically endangered’, with populations down to around 5% of their original levels. Yet fishing continues.