Farm-Free Salmon Group Ramps Up Efforts

Published on
July 22, 2008

An anti-farmed salmon organization aims to take its "Farm-Free Salmon Pledge" to restaurants and retailers nationwide after taping a Rachael Ray segment on July 20.

"Once the no-farmed pledge grows to 50 restaurants, then to 100, then hundreds worldwide, less farmed salmon will be purchased," said Kenny Belov, co-owner and general manager of "Fish." in Sausalito, Calif.

Belov formed "Fish or Cut Bait" (www.focb.org), an organization in which retailers and restaurants pledge to use only wild salmon, in March when the California and Oregon salmon fisheries were closed for the season.

"With farmed salmon being used so much now, the demand for wild salmon is going to become almost nonexistent," says Belov.

While Belov and the 10 other restaurant members of FOCB believe the farmed salmon industry is the cause of some of the wild salmon industry's problems.

"The demands of the salmon farms are so great [that] you are depleting wild stocks of fish such as anchovy and herring to make this fishmeal," says Belov.

Salmon farmers, meanwhile, are not taking the accusations lying down. "Most of the environmental data on salmon farming's negative impact is 20 to 25 years old. Anything that reduces consumer choices as opposed to expanding them is a dangerous trend," says Sebastian Belle, executive director of the Maine Aquaculture Association in Hallowell, Maine.

To get the word out about the Farm-Free Salmon Pledge, Belov taped a segment focusing on FOCB as well as Fish's sustainability efforts for "Rachael's Vacation" on The Food Network. Belov is also trying to get restaurants and retailers to sign up at events such as the SalmonAid Festival, which was held June 1.

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