How can the Ecology Action Centre name Cooke Aquaculture the worst environmental violator of the year for not investing in closed containment technology (July 18)? The very fact that EAC considers closed containment systems to be environmentally friendly calls into question this group’s commitment to preserving our environment.
Closed containment systems require huge amounts of electricity. How can the EAC believe burning additional fossil fuels is responsible, at a time when we are looking to reduce our carbon footprint? An ocean net pen requires no electric power; piloted closed systems used a whopping 7,260,205 kWh/cycle. Closed containment systems for salmon require huge amounts of fresh water to flush the fish before marketing. Does the EAC really believe using all this fresh water is a good idea at a time when fresh water is in short supply?
Does the EAC not care about animal welfare issues? We stock our fish at 18 kilos per cubic metre, while pilot scale closed systems stock salmon at 50 to 100, cramping and stressing the fish.
Today’s consumers want their food grown as naturally as possible; growing salmon on land isn’t natural. It’s somewhat baffling why a small faction is asking salmon farmers to move production to an unproven, unnatural and truly feed-lot style farming method.
Our industry has demonstrated we can grow salmon in their natural environment with minimal impact on wild stocks or habitat.
All this brings me to what I am really curious about. Is this “award” by the EAC really about the environment at all? Or has the Ecology Action Centre simply joined a well-funded international activist movement aimed at generating media attention based on half-truths and outdated information?
I certainly hope not.