LEADING figures from 15 of the world’s largest salmon farming companies - including two from Scotland - today launched a global drive for sustainability within the industry.
The Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) unites top farmed salmon producers committed to greater industry cooperation and making the farmed fish a sustainable source of protein to feed a growing world population.
The 15 companies include the Scottish Salmon Company and Scottish Sea Farms.
The initiative, launched at Trondheim in Norway, will also look at ways of expanding salmon farming, addressing environmental concerns.and meeting industry standards.
Alf-Helge Aarskog, chief executive of Marine Harvest and co chairman GSI, said: “As an industry, we recognise that while we have made significant progress, there is still a lot to be done in terms of sustainability. As a relatively young industry, we hope that through industry collaboration, research and sharing of knowledge, we can make the necessary changes to do better, and keep getting better.”
Dr Jason Clay, the senior vice president at the environmental charity the Wild Wildlife Fund praised the “game changing” industry initiative.
He said: “This is a game-changer. The salmon sector working together and embracing sustainability is going to radically change aquaculture – and affect the food industry in a big way. This commitment shows that these companies see sustainability as a pre-competitive issue, one that they can work on together to make progress more quickly.”
A GSI spokesman explained: “The members of GSI are committed to significant improvements in the sustainability of their operations. The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standard for salmon aquaculture provides a framework to guide and report on the progress GSI is making, and the initiative is adopting the ASC framework as its primary reference point for work and progress.
“It is recognised that while salmon farmers have already been making progress toward greater sustainability, and have met the requirements of other demanding standards, they acknowledge that more needs to be done.
“GSI is committed to working closely with industry partners to ensure it is making significant change in areas affecting the whole of the industry. GSI has also formed an alliance with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations. Both parties share a goal of supporting the expansion of sustainable aquaculture as a source of high quality food source for a growing global population.”
He added: “GSI is committed to fully realising a shared goal of providing a highly sustainable source of healthy food to feed a growing global population, whilst minimising our environmental footprint, and continuing to improve our social contribution. “
About 60 per cent of the world’s salmon production currently comes from fish farms. In 2011, the last year for which figures are available, a total of 1,600,000 tonnes of salmon came from fish farms, while 930,000 tonnes of wild salmon were caught.