Farm-Free Salmon Pledge

The Muse has done it again. Remember our dinner many weeks ago when she declared farmed salmon for her dinner with a determined hurrah fling of the menu. And then I spilled stories of farmed salmon I'd been reading and she ordered a lovely pasta dish. Well, the Muse has taken no-farmed-salmon another couple of steps.

First, not long after our meal she was at the same restaurant with a friend and before the menus were opened said, "You can't order the salmon!" No further discussion was necessary and I'm still laughing at the story.

Now the Muse has found the Farm-Free Salmon Pledge at Fish restaurant in Sausalito. The pledge encourages restaurants and retailers to remove farmed salmon from their menus and shelves. Individuals can take the pledge too and remove it from their carts and tables.

Fish has printed the Pledge on recycled 5x7 card stock for customers to take and/or distribute. The Muse took the Pledge herself and is taking the card to the restaurant of our not quite legendary no-farmed-salmon dinner. And she gave me several to distribute too.

It's exciting or maybe I'm naive. But I believe if people learn about the impact the farming has on the environment and the facts that farmed salmon is fake and dyed and bolstered up with antibiotics they wouldn't want to support farmed salmon. Let alone eat it.

If you know a restaurant(s) or retailer(s) you would like to have receive the Farm-Free Salmon Pledge card, or you would like some yourself, email me from the sidebar with the business name and address or yours and I'll happily put the Pledge card or cards in the mail.

Let's get busy. There's still a lot of hope to restore the runs of the wild salmon. Delicious wild salmon, I might add.

The Farm-Free Salmon Pledge.

In the spring of 2008, the Pacific Fishery Management Council announced the closure of both the commercial and sport fishing for wild Chinook and Coho Salmon for California and Oregon coasts and rivers. The immediate impact of this will cost the west coast over 200 million dollars and over 4,200 jobs. The long term effects could be much greater if we don’t act now.

Fish. restaurant in Sausalito, Ca. is taking the first step by introducing the Farm-Free Salmon pledge. Restaurants and retailers taking this pledge will remove farmed salmon from their menus and shelves using only wild salmon when it is available. By doing this, they will protect the marine food webs that are plundered to support farmed salmon, prevent the waste that open ocean pens produce, and eliminate the possibility of escape of non-native species into our west coast ecosystems while supporting the fishing communities that depend on healthy oceans and wild salmon populations for their future.

Today, rivers and streams on the Pacific Coast are dammed, degraded, drained, diverted, buried under silt or otherwise unable to support abundant salmon populations. Consequently, some salmon populations that once supported communities along our Pacific coast are severely imperiled to the point where numerous fish populations are now protected by the federal and/or state Endangered Species Acts.

The loss of Pacific salmon populations has damaged coastal and tribal communities all along our coast and inland to Idaho and Nevada. Across the country, families are faced with the choice of paying high prices for wild salmon (if they can be found), or buying farmed Atlantic salmon of dubious quality and nutritional value, or not eating salmon at all. Commercial fishermen have been forced to fish in unsafe weather in order to make boat, insurance, and related payments. Over the last couple of decades, the Pacific Coast commercial fishing fleet has declined from more than 10,000 salmon fishermen to 1,000.

Many of these remaining fishing men and women work second jobs in to order to make ends meet. Native American tribes can no longer depend on the salmon for sustenance as they always have; as a result, these people are suffering skyrocketing increases in heart disease and diabetes. As salmon populations decline, more and more of their food now comes from the grocery store – it is high in starch, fats and sugars.

But salmon are very resilient! If you restore healthy rivers and habitat and give them a half a chance, they will bounce back. Case in point: Sacramento River winter run Chinook salmon nearly went extinct in the early 1990’s; their numbers had dwindled to a mere 186 spawning adults.

Once they were protected under the Endangered Species Act, measures were undertaken to restore habitats in the Sacramento River. Dams were modified to provide cooler water for incubating salmon eggs. A nearby mine that was leaking acid into the Sacramento River was cleaned up. Another dam that was blocking salmon migration was opened. Within a few years of these improvements, winter run Chinook salmon numbers had increased to over 8,000 spawning adults.

The winter run of Sacramento River Chinook salmon is still imperiled; we can restore these populations if we choose to protect and enhance their freshwater habitats.


Jenn said...

Even better - don't eat any salmon at all. I was "mostly" vegetarian with lapses into fish 1-2x/month for most of my life.

Only 2 years ago, I cut out fish entirely. We're really damaging the fisheries and the oceans -- there is no really "responsible" fishing and there aren't enough fish for all the people who want them.

And, of course, fish have feelings, too.

I'm totally vegan now - having cut out dairy and eggs 3 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, Katrina, for reminding all of us that the price we pay for false abundance is one that the planet, and our spirits, canot afford.

Donna said...

I'm all for this, which is easy for me since I live in Oregon and all we get are local (wild) salmon and wild salmon from Alaska! But I know people who buy East coast farmed salmon at Costco and I've never spoken up. Hmmm. Maybe it's time.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant idea. Bookmarking and sending to a few mates how work in restaurants here.

It would be great to see it take off down here - our salmon farms are very similar to yours...

Kale for Sale said...

jenn - Now I'm really convinced you live on jam alone!

It's great you've cut out fish but realisitically that's not going to happen on a large scale so if we can just protect the wild populations from farmed populations we'll be doing good (she says with her fingers crossed).

dea anne - False abundance - nicely put. Thank you.

donna - I've read your comment three times and each time I read ahead thinking you're going to say, you've never spoken to them again! Which is startling because you seem so nice. Good luck speaking up if you decide to. It can be rough coming between people and their salmon.

lucy - Yeah! Thank you. Eco-kisses to you and your mates.

Donna said...

Oh, I've certainly spoken to them again! I have to confess I've even eaten the salmon -- at Christmas dinner with the family. It's the family part that makes it hard to speak up, more so than the salmon.

Going Crunchy said...

Wow, that is amazing. Thanks for the information. Shannon