by Steffan Browning
Consumer NZ has recently published a chilling release for anyone who is partial to salmon. They looked into what farmed salmon is actually fed, and did omega-3 testing to find out whether labeling was true to claim.
Consumer has put a spotlight on some of the King Salmon’s claims about what they feed their fish. They talked to the producer of pellets fed to most NZ salmon farms and found that less than 10% of the feed is fishmeal. Fish oil is added to the pellets (it comprises 7% of the pellet) because it is the main source of omega-3 for farmed salmon. Wild salmon get it from algae and other marine plants via the fish they eat. Consumer’s testing of Omega -3 of five different varieties found in all but one case test results were below the levels claimed on the label. A subsequent Marlborough Express story highlighted that the Regal Salmon website (A King Salmon’s Product) claimed that “the feed given to its fish ‘replicates the diet of wild salmon’.” But this section seems to have disappeared from their FAQs.
Meanwhile a hearing starts tomorrow in Blenheim for King Salmon’s Clay Point Farm where they want to increase the amount of feed being allowed on the farm. They need to alter their resource consent which allows them to operate. This requires permission from the council because of the waste from the farms which has an impact on the surrounding environment. I’ll be watching with interest to see what happens as Parliament’s Primary Production Select Committee, of which I’m a member, is currently considering a petition calling for a ban on salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds due to environmental concerns.