What’s for dinner? Not salmon

There is an article in today’s NYT about the pollution and sick fish caused by the way salmon is farmed in Chile (Salmon Virus Indicts Chile’s Fishing Methods). I had heard complaints about this from my environmentalist friends when I was in Chile last year. I don’t understand fish farming, but can easily believe it’s not benign since it’s yet another application of industrial techniques to food production, a la Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma. Here’s a picture of salmon farms I took as I took off from Puerto Montt last year on my way south to Patagonia–looks like a plume of pollution streaming from the pens…

Update 4/16/08 (NYT): Safeway the third-largest supermarket chain in America, has restricted some purchases of farm-raised Chilean salmon over concern about a virus that is killing millions of fish there.

The supermarket chain decided late last month to stop buying from its Chilean supplier, Marine Harvest, because Infectious Salmon Anemia, or the I.S.A. virus, was “impacting the quality of the product,” Brian Dowling, a Safeway spokesman, said this week. Mr. Dowling said the virus, which does not pose a risk to humans, was nevertheless affecting the size of the salmon, “which impacts the quality and the taste.”


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