Feed The World: How Salmon Farming Is Boosting Global Health

If you’re interested in healthy eating or you’ve taken a trip to a medical clinic of late, you may have come across article, posters, or brochures encouraging you to eat more fruit and vegetables and increase your intake of protein and omega oils. As the world’s population grows and there’s an ever-increasing demand for foods rich in these precious oils, salmon farming is providing a solution, but how much do you know about it and have you ever eaten farmed salmon?

What exactly is salmon farming?

The Global Salmon Initiative is a body of representatives from countries involved in salmon farming. The aim of the scheme is to increase the production of salmon to provide sustainable sources of protein for consumers all over the world. The initiative was founded in 2012 and launched in 2013. Initially, it was made up of members from Norway, Chile and Scotland. These countries are the leading salmon producers, although other countries, including Ireland, Iceland and New Zealand now farm salmon and there are now 16 member nations.

Salmon farming responds to a global demand for healthy, sustainable foods, which provide protein and valuable nutrients. If we were to rely solely on catching wild salmon, the haul would be significantly smaller, and it’s likely that we would get to the stage where there was a shortage of salmon in some countries. Salmon farming started on an experimental basis in the 1960’s. By 2015, farming nations were producing in excess of 2.2 million tons of farmed salmon per year. In comparison, around 880,000 tons of wild salmon were caught in global waters.

The farming process takes around 3 years, with the first year of production taking place in a regulated freshwater environment. The salmon are then relocated to cages in the sea and then moved to processing plants once they have reached the desired size and weight. For the most part, farmed salmon is sold in supermarkets as fresh fillets.

The benefits of salmon farming

Salmon farming initiatives have increased salmon production significantly in a relatively short space of time. Since experiments with farming first began, the world’s population has swelled, and there’s a growing demand, not just for food, but for healthy food. The UN predicts that global demand for protein will increase by 40 percent by 2050, with the world’s population expected to reach 9.7 billion.

Why is salmon so good for you?

Salmon is one of those prized ‘superfoods’, which offers a whole range of benefits for your health. An excellent source of protein, salmon also contains essential omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, vitamin B12 and selenium. Salmon is also often known as a brain food, and this is due to its fatty acid content.

Do you eat salmon on a regular basis? If so, you may never have given much thought to the journey that fish has undertaken, but it’s beneficial to be aware of farming initiatives and healthy eating programs that are in place to boost global health and respond to the growing demand for food.

Image credits: John Allan via wikimedia, James Bowe via flickr