Farming Industry Reeling
Like their colleagues in the beef sector, players in Canada's $700-million Atlantic salmon farming industry have been handed a sharp reminder that when it comes to the business of food, public perception is everything.
Last Thursday, a U.S. study concluded that farm-raised Atlantic salmon are so laced with PCBs and other pollutants that they pose an increased risk of cancer and should be eaten only infrequently.
Daniel Pauly, a director of fisheries at UBC [the Director of the Fisheries Centre at UBC], said the outcome of the study means that salmon farmers are facing some of the same issues that have confronted the tobacco sector for decades.
"Ultimately this has elevated the debate away from discussions about whether there is a problem with farmed salmon," Pauly said. "The debate should focus now on what to do about it.''
Pauly adds that salmon farmers may have to embrace the concept of labelling their products so that consumers are warned about the potential health risks of what they are about to buy.
"Then people can decide whether or not they want to eat it."