A new push from a broad alliance of scientists, activists, community groups and NGOs calls for M&S to ‘come clean about the damage caused by farmed salmon’ and ratchets up pressure on the salmon industry’s shocking practices and supermarket labelling.
“This is not just any smoked salmon. This is responsibly-sourced smoked salmon from a fancy supermarket …”. This is the beginning a cheeky and subversive spoof advert released by campaigners ramping up their efforts to rein in the factory salmon-farming industry. This punchy 90-second video, produced by ECOHUSTLER magazine, targets supermarkets that aggressively market farmed salmon to consumers as an ethical option – because it avoids wild stocks – when it actually takes up to 200 wild-caught fish to feed one farmed salmon.
The short video stars oceans campaigner, author, TV presenter, and founder of City to Sea – Natalie Fée. At the beginning of the video, she seems like a typical TV model – tempted by the sultry marketing of a major brand. In the end, she pushes the salmon away and declares her objection to a product that is so extremely damaging to the environment. The petition targets Marks and Spencer. Farmed salmon is Marks & Spencer’s ‘most important seafood resource by both volume and value,’ who use 10,000 tons of Scottish farmed salmon per year.
The supermarket specifically emphasizes the quality and sustainability of their products, and all of its salmon is labelled “responsibly sourced” despite the increasing, well-documented impact of open-cage, factory-farming in Scotland. Factory salmon farms in Scotland have mortality rates of up to 20% – far higher than the rates tolerated on land. The animals that do survive live in unimaginable torment: often plagued with disease and sea-lice parasites. The petition, hosted on 38 Degrees, can be found here – you.38degrees.org.uk//come-clean-about-the-damage-caused-by-your-farmed-salmon
Matt Mellen, Editor of Ecohustler, who started the petition says: “At a time when so many of us are seeking to lessen our environmental impact, it is totally irresponsible and wrong for a trusted brand such as Marks and Spencer to market factory-farmed salmon as an ethical and sustainable (responsible) option. Given the immense harm this industry does both to coastal ecosystems in Scotland and abroad, these products should come with a warning label. Instead, consumers are being told they are okay to eat. We urge anyone who shares these concerns to sign our petition, calling upon Marks and Spencer to come clean about the impacts of their farmed salmon.” The general public is increasingly aware of the perilous state of our oceans and how important it is for collective human behavior to change. Netflix recently released the documentary Seaspiracy which explores the impact of overfishing on ocean ecosystems. The documentary not only specifically examined Scottish salmon farming but also the mislabelling of fish products by retailers.
Natalie Fée, star of the video, says: “In our busy lives, we usually don’t have the time or desire to research everything we eat and buy, and nor should we have to. Our supermarkets should practice genuine transparency when it comes to the labelling and sustainability of their products, and our government should pass legislature to enforce such behavior. Until this happens, avoiding farmed salmon and signing our petition are two ways you can take action now to bring about the changes we need to see.” Salmon farming and whales: The video was made with the support of the Mirthquake Foundation – a charity that explores the human connection with cetaceans.
Napier Marten, CEO, says: “Mirthquake fully endorses Ecohustler’s position. Wild salmon, a cetacean staple, is diminishing in number as diseased farm stock escapes and breeds with wild salmon. The impact of salmon farming practices on both cetaceans and humans, as well as many other species, is proven to be considerable. Operators of Scottish salmon farms have clearly trusted veterinary science while operating in a benign, perhaps ineffective, regulatory environment. In a situation where operators are plainly failing to meet the challenge of keeping farms clean and sustainable, shareholders, managers, scientific advisors and consumers would all do well to consider whether ever-cheaper, tasteless and medicated salmon should continue to be eaten let alone produced.”
Sign the petition here: you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/come-clean-about-the-damage-caused-by-your-farmed-salmon