4 April 2008
How Fish Farming is Killing Salmon
A virus called infectious salmon anemia, or ISA, is killing millions of salmon in Chile. The plague has resulted in 1,000 workers losing their jobs, and has opened fish farming companies to charges that breeding salmon in crowded underwater pens is contaminating once-pristine waters and producing unhealthy fish.
Salmon producers are coming under new pressure to change their methods. According to Dr. Felipe C. Cabello, a professor of Microbiology and Immunology, “All these problems are related to an underlying lack of sanitary controls. Parasitic infections, viral infections, fungal infections are all disseminated when the fish are stressed and the centers are too close together.”
Industry executives acknowledge some of the problems, but reject the notion that their practices are unsafe for consumers. But a rash of salmon illnesses have led companies to use high levels of antibiotics, some of which are prohibited for use on animals in the United States. Nonetheless, many of those salmon still end up in American grocery stores.
* New York Times March 27, 2008