It is hard to believe that this day would ever come, having watched the multi-billion dollar Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Grieg Seafood, simply push their way into all the pristine oceans on earth and soil them for so long, to finally say, and they will no doubt not agree, but that the world is on the tipping point, even though it will take these companies a decade of death throws to die or change, that the beginning of the end for in-ocean fish farms has finally come.
They have soiled Norway, the Shetlands, Faroes, Ireland, Scotland, England, Chile, Canada East and Canada West (Canada is so big it is more than two countries). And more oceans are soiled with Norwegian-style industry: NZ, Tasmania, Australia, the Balkans, Russia, the rest of Europe. And then there are the African and Asian countries, too warm for salmon like Vietnam, Thailand, then China, Korea... and the rest that are polluting their own oceans with salmon or other fish and crustaceans.
The saddest place of them all is that the industry is currently pushing into pristine Patagonia, a touchwood place for all of North America, because the rest of Chile is so soiled with fish farm disease, lice, escapes and sewage, they need new areas to despoil. These are euphemistically referred to as sanitary problems.
As everyone who reads this site knows, I have found 127 different fish farms systems on land, comprising more than 10,000 actual on-land fish farms around the world on land. But Norway and its Norwegian style fish farms have steadily refused to come out of the water. See: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2012/01/key-document-34-mostly-on-land-closed.html.
But finally the world is moving on from Norway and its people who have given the rest of the world a method of farming that ruins the very water it enters. And those of us who fight the fight do so on behalf of our own countries, our own pristine water, our own wild Pacific salmon, our aboriginals and their 10,000 year way of living with the ocean and salmon.
I estimate some 73 million wild salmon - before fisheries in saltwater - put at risk in BC alone, compared with only 170,000 at-ocean Atlantic salmon in the rest of the country.
BC has 99.8% of all the wild salmon in Canada, six eastern provinces, only a very small .2%. And those of us who give our time to this cause will just keep on fighting it. I make no money doing this, it is all for standing up for wild Pacific salmon.
Enough of that, let's move on to why we are at a tipping point. On the above link are a half dozen papers on how on-land farms cost less and make more money than in-ocean whose chief benefit is to release their sewage into everyone else's water, and don't want to have to stop that free externality. And on-land farms are cheaper, the Kuterra on-land fish farm on Vancouver Island, cost a small $7.6 Million. Compare this with the in-ocean, auctioned licence cost in Norway of $9 - $12 million - that's before even purchasing paper clips for the office, or even having an office in Norway.
Two pieces of the puzzle fell into place from the four global fish farm newsletters that I scan every day for clues.
The first one is that Norway is so mad at the lice problems, the disease, fraudulent activities and the soiling of its own waters that it finally, after several decades of the companies just making things worse, has told them it will grant free licences to set up on land. (a 60- to 80-million Kroner cost in saltwater)
Even the Norwegian government wants Marine Harvest, Cermaq, Grief Seafood and the rest to come out of the water. Their own water is spoiled - more fish farm sewage flows into the ocean than the entire human population of Norway - and there is far less damage to put farms on land and deal with the sewage and eliminate all the other problems: the lice, disease, antibiotics, peroxide, killing of seals with a bullet in the head, and all the rest.
The Norwegian government realizes that the rest of the world is just moving right on by, putting in on-land structures. More and more these structures are being built in the major market areas, and this eliminates transportation issues, exchange rate issues, tariffs, and the other costs. Norwegian companies have to come out of the water or lose their markets.
Consumers, more and more, are against in-ocean farmed fish, and will no longer buy it. This is around the world. This will become zero sales for Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Grieg Seafood when the on-land farms set up in Los Angeles, Buenos Ares and the rest.
Norway got out of a 26% tariff in the USA last year (but there are other tariffs out there, and Russia, a real big market, has refused Norwegian salmon), but they can't send fresh product daily into New York, or Taiwan, or Beijing and all the rest. Companies setting up in the markets on land will simply render the old-tech dinosaurs, the Norwegian companies, as obsolete relics to the dump.
The second reason I think we are at the tipping point, is comments from the Deloitte Powerpoint document put out by Anders Milde Gjendemsjo, in Norway, in the past few months. It is a costing document for in-ocean, partly on land, and all on land, that you will find a direct link to in the 127 on-land link above. (I got a copy from Anders and read it a few months ago).
But today in global fish farm news, Gjendemsjo, had much to say. Here is a partial quote:
"Through detailed calculations, Deloitte disagree with these arguments [that on-land is too costly]. We have looked at the production and investment cost for both traditional open pen farming and land based farming in RAS. The calculations shows an estimated production cost per kilo at 26,50 NOK for the traditional production regime with smolts transferred to sea at 100 grams. The interesting result is that the estimated production cost on land is nearly the same, at 26,75 NOK per kilo."
There are more figures for you to look at, so do read this piece. Here is a further quote:
"With regards to investments, a production of 5000 metric tons of salmon in open pen cages at sea, the cost is in the range of 325-400 million Norwegian Kroner. This includes four licenses with a market price of 60-80 million Norwegian Kroner. Looking at land based farming – where we assume that the licenses will be free – the investment cost of a correspon-ding production volume is estimated to be in the range of 300-450 million Norwegian Kroner.
With these figures in mind, prepare for an increase in the worlds salmon production, not at sea but on land."
So, Anders concludes that on-land is the future for fish farms. See: http://www.akvagroup.com/news/future-growth-in-salmon-farming.
Marine Harvest, Cermaq, Grieg Seafood and the rest can change or die. Just so you know these same companies are ramping up to make big time growth in BC, right now, and instead of coming out of the water, they want to put more 'farms' in our pristine ocean. So, the fight just goes on. In their own country, Norway, in-ocean is toast, but Norwegians are still trying to further foul other people's oceans. Sad but true. I sure hope I don't have to do this for another 10 years.
As we know, in Canada, 'Canada is back', in Trudeau's phrase. We can only hope that the conflicted department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada will be changed, and we end this industry soon. I will be getting in touch with him and Minister Hunter Tootoo, too. Please send a note yourself.
You can reach the office of Justin Trudeau at firstname.lastname@example.org. All federal MPs have the same root to their email at Parliament in Ottawa.
If Norwegian fish farms are going to be on land in their own country, Norway, why the heck are Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Grieg Seafood still in Canadian water in BC, and Atlantic Canada?
Here is another list on the environmental damage caused, and illegal actions, resulting in jail sentences by fish farms, mostly in Norway: http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/alexandra_morton/2015/11/international-salmon-farming-news-fraud-cheating-fines-prison.html.
And, finally, go look at this list of News Bites on fish farm/seafood issues around the world, including that Fredrikson, CEO, Jo Lunder - the company that owns Marine Harvest - was sentenced to six months in jail for corruption. It is item 129 on this list. I think you will be shocked: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.ca/2015/07/key-document-fish-farm-news-bites.html. I have found more than 260 problems in the global press in the last six months. Hard to believe.
Out of the water, or out of business.