Salmon Confidential: documentary about Norway's fish-farming

Dave Asprey says:

Unfortunately, because of the Norwegian-led fish-farming industry and modern pollution, its no longer safe to assume you’re eating a nutritious, disease and poison-free fish… unless you know exactly where it came from.

Long story short: Avoid farmed fish the same way you avoid industrial red meat, insist on wild-caught sockeye salmon, and boycott Norwegian fish products because their global fish farms have killed 90% of local healthy salmon populations, including the ones 15 minutes from my house. Bastards!

How Norway Is Killing Your Sushi


  1. Insisting on wild-caught anything may be good advice for your health, but it’s often not very environmentally responsible. Especially true in the case of ocean fish, which are often overfished to the point of collapse.

    1. “it’s often not very environmentally responsible”

      One could say the same for farmed fish. It really depends on how either is handled.

  2. Insisting on wild-caught does little to assuage the ‘pollution free’ element: the fish may be equally contaminated, but now you’re also contributing to environmental collapse as well.

    Farmed fish have specific locations of origin and handling that can all be tracked.  If someone in the chain is misbehaving, tort law can handle it.

    Put another way: would you rather have fish caught “somewhere off the Fukushima coast”, or from a farm in Mie?  I’ll take the latter every time.

  3. Not eating animals is a good start.  But why does Canada allow atrocities like fish farming on the Fraser, clear-cutting, and tar sand mining, and suchlike?  It ruins my opinion of them as the better Americans from the north.

  4. If this post were a salmon, I’d have it checked for dangerously high levels of hyperbole.

    The “farm-raised vs. wild salmon” issue is an important one in the Pacific Northwest (where I live), which sees salmon as one of the bases of its cultural identity. Although there’s little argument that wild salmon are preferable in many ways to farm-raised salmon, it does nothing to further the discussion to equate farm-raised fish with “modern pollution.”

          1. Maybe so, but perhaps my logical fallacy (aka “don’t kill the messenger”) also just saved me an hour.

  5.  I can’t view this video likely since I don’t have flash installed. But
    my understanding on the issue of Norway and salmon is that the situation
    may be more nuanced than the written lead into to this video suggests.

    I’d like to mention a recent book on the subject by Paul Greenberg which helps to address some of the issues over salmon and a few of the other fish we have chosen to use as popular foodstock:

    Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food

    The four fish he predominately covers in the book are salmon, tuna, (sea) bass and cod.

    His primary suggestion in the book is that society needs to reconsider what fish it consumes and how it sources them. He provides a list of 5 criteria for assisting us in making those larger decisions.

  6. seems pretty hyperbolic itself.  There seem to be lots of approving direct quotes from the BCSFA (British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association), and zero information about who set up the blog.  I smell astroturf.

  7. I eat less salmon, take more enteric-coated fish oil that’s molecularly distilled to remove most mercury/dioxin/PCBs/whatever.  No prob.

    Pollution is never going to be solved until we take action and make our political environment habitable for a representative democracy.  Afterward, we can properly regulate industry and make seafood less poisonous for us all.

    It would be nice to eat less poisonous seafood some day.

    1. Cow,

      If you put that same link in one more time, I’m going to have to hurt you.

  8. I worked on this documentary back in the early 90s and actually met and hung out with the biologist who were examining the Elwha and working with the salmon farm/hatchery on the lower river. They knew back then that farming was a big problem siting the issues in this short doc. Luckily, though it took something like 15 years, the dams are being removed and restoring fish spawning habitat. I used to see the dead wild salmon at the base of the lower dam, it was sad. 

    This combined with limiting of over over fishing looks like it can actually improve the situation.
    Note to social: i lost 15 pounds of the 22 pounds I lost total with no exercise. (6’1 was 180 and now fluctuate between 158 -160). It really is that simple. 

  9. Some wildly hyperbolic claims in that article aside (and I did not watch a one-hour video – too damn long considering how flimsy the case on the website seemed), it seems to me that most of the concerns raised are regulatory in nature. 

    It would seem a great deal more reasonable to bolster and sharpen regulation than to launch a boycot against the whole country of Norway, which… firstly, will not exactly make a dent in Norway’s exports, and secondly, is targeted at the wrong people.

    Here in Norway our farmed fish is tasty and cheap, and although not as nutritious as wild salmon, is regulated by a government I trust to regulate.

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