Farmed salmon eases agricultural pressure

Salmon A new study has found that a salmon and vegan meal would require the same amount of land. Credit: Cermaq

New research has examined the benefits of farmed salmon in reducing pressure on global farmland and helping reduce environmental impact.

A study by Norwegian NGO Future in Our Hands (FIOH) has calculated how many square metres of farm land are needed to produce one portion of dinner and found that a salmon and vegan meal would require the same amount of land because part of the fish feed is from marine resources, and that fish, being cold blooded and living in water, are very efficient feed converters, with 68% edible yield.

Norwegian salmon and trout farming company Cermaq stated that “many would argue that the livestock production uses local feed, whereas salmon production uses feed that has been transported a long distance”. There is a point here, it said, but it is not the full story, at least not as FIOH reveals.

FIOH’s Norwegian study looked at where the arable land is located and found that a portion of chicken, pork, or beef all take up more farmed land abroad than farmed salmon does, and additionally take up farmed land locally. Pasture land is not included but adds another 1.9m2 to the beef meal.

Cermaq highlighted another study by Poore and Nemecek published in Science, which underlines that there is no one size fits all solution. Within each category of crops or livestock production there is great variety. The upside for all is that by understanding this variety, we can improve our food production system, added Cermaq.

“Still, the direction towards reducing consumption of meat and dairy seems evident,” stated Cermaq.

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