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Autor: anton • April 23, 2011 • 2,150 Words (9 Pages) • 480 Views
The Salmon Effect: Salmons Ecological and Economical Impact on the World
The notion of fast food has emerged into part of everyday life of American households only in the latter part of the twentieth century. In contrast, the slow food movement has had a much greater past but has been in the shadows of the fast food culture since fast foods emergence in the United States. Consequently, due to a climate crisis, an impending recession and a new awareness of health and lifestyle, the slow food movement has surfaced back on the map in the everyday lives of Americans. The slow food movement asks, impart, for the contemporary world to question what impact the food we consume has. To answer that question we must investigate where the food we eat comes from and the consequences that consumption has on the world around us, including economical and the environmental impacts.
Research shows that the average bite of American food has traveled more than 1500 miles before it reaches your lips changing hands an average of six times along the way . This is due to a highly globalized market. The food producers around the world are able to provide a limitless amount of food year round to the consumers. In fact, in 1910 there were over 13.5 million farmers on over 6.5 million farms in the US, in 2000; there were only 2.9 million farmers on 2.1 million farms. Furthermore, less than two percent of the country currently lives on farms . These statistics exemplify the change in notions about production and efficiency and the entire mindset we have on food production in the U.S. It is true that the consolidation and concentration of food producing and retailing has lowered prices and created an abundance of food year around. But consequently, the consolidation and concentration of both producing and retailing has had an immensely negative impact on both the environment and society. One specific food which has had an enormous impact in both production and retailing aspects in particular is seafood.
Seafood is one of the most intriguing adventures of food in supermarkets. An abundance of rows of all different types of fresh fish from all different parts of the world line ice filled displays at reasonably affordable prices. The United States is only behind Japan and China in the consumption of seafood. In fact, Americans ate an average of 16.5 pounds per person, up four pounds since 1980 largely due to the new awareness of health and lifestyle .
One fish in particular has had a greater impact than any other seafood, Salmon. Salmon is one of the country's most popular fresh fishes. More than twenty-three million people eat it more than once a month . As SalmonÐ²Ð‚™s popularity has grown, the commercial production of Salmon has become more and more intriguing. To understand the commercial circumstances behind Salmon production we must first analyze some basics about Salmon. Salmon are indigenous to the Atlantic, as well as the Northern Pacific. Salmon trace their origins to fresh water streams where they spawn and then migrate to either the northern Atlantic or Pacific waters. The irony is that most Salmon sold in U.S. supermarkets and restaurants are labeled Atlantic salmon but are imported from Chile (Pacific based). In fact, Atlantic Salmon are considered to be an endangered species in the U.S. making Salmon illegal to commercially fish in the U.S. In addition, the ocean's ability to produce Salmon is diminishing. With increasingly sophisticated fishing gear and farming methods, humans' ability to catch Salmon has exceeded the ocean's capacity to produce Salmon. Accordingly, this begins our adventure of where the Salmon we eat more than once a month, on average, for dinner and on bagels for breakfast, actually comes from.
The adventure of the Atlantic Salmon from the waters of Chile to the store display starts at the vast amount of over eight-hundred salmon farms along the coast of Chile. In fact, sixty-five percent of farmed Salmon consumed in the United States comes from the farms in Chile . The farming of Salmon in Chile is a contradiction in itself; Salmon are not only not native to Chile, the Atlantic Salmon doesn't appear naturally anywhere south of the equator. In addition, Chile is now the largest harvester of Salmon than anywhere else in the world. The Salmon which the Americans import from Chile has become so popular that the total world salmon harvest in 1985 was fifty thousand metric tons. It doubled in two years. By 1990, it was three hundred thousand metric tons. As the demand for Salmon grew, the Chileans started aggressively farming salmon, and the price started to drop dramatically as the worldwide supply surged bringing on many environmental, societal, and health problems along for the ride.
Besides the contradiction of the unintentional outsourcing of Salmon farming, the actual farming of the salmon has both economical and environmental impacts. ChileÐ²Ð‚™s rugged coastline has an immense amount of inlets and fjords that provide the kind of protection that pens of farmed fish in the ocean need. Furthermore, the Salmon are farmed in large-scale, densely stocked net pens that pollute surrounding waters with waste and chemicals. Salmon waste is the largest component of polluting surrounding waters. According to Gerry Leape, vice president of marine conservation for the National Environmental Trust, Ð²Ð‚ÑšOne million Salmon produce the same waste as sixty-five thousand people.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ Along with the waste, excess feed offers another source of pollution. Any food that isn't consumed settles to the ocean floor, adding to the layer of feces. The waste itself contains residues of antibiotics and other chemicals used to keep the fish healthy . As a result, the waste, excess feed and chemicals create dead zones along coastal regions which are detrimental to surrounding environments. With tens of millions of salmon living in vast ocean farms, their excess food and feces settling to the ocean floor beneath the pens, and dozens of salmon processing plants dumping untreated salmon entrails directly into the ocean, negatively affects the ecology of the surrounding areas.
Not only is the ecology negatively impacted, the health of the fish as well as the health of the people who consume the Salmon are negatively impacted. Wild Salmon (Salmon that are not farmed) are historically nutritious and provide a wide variety of health benefits. Wild Salmon is high in protein and low in fat content, which is appealing to most people, should not be confused with that of farmed Salmon . The widespread pollution and chemical use in farmed Salmon has the opposite health benefits then that of the wild Salmon. In addition, parasites as well as disease are much more abundant in the overstocked pens of farmed Salmon. Consequently there are many more health risks