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Expert Analysis of Fish Feed Raises Sustainability Concerns About NAF Project

Scientist Argues That There Are No Farmed-Fish Feed Options That Meet the Sustainability Standard

October 25, 2018

Contact: Katherine Paul, 207-653-3090,

BELFAST, Maine - A new independent expert analysis of feed sources available for land-based and open-pen salmon farms calls into question claims by Norway-based Nordic Aquafarms (NAF) that an aquaculture project the company proposes to build on a 54-acre site in Belfast will be sustainable.

“Nordic Aquafarms CEO Erik Heim, as well as other company representatives, have repeatedly told the public that their project, unprecedented in size and therefore untested at scale, will be completely “sustainable,” said Katherine Paul, Maine resident and associate director of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA). “This expert analysis of feed options for the type of project Nordic proposes clearly contradicts those claims.”

The analysis was prepared by Dr. Claudette Bethune, Ph.D., associate director of clinical development at a California-based pharmaceutical company. From 2003 – 2006, Bethune was a senior scientist at the Norwegian Institute for Nutrition and Seafood Safety in Bergen, Norway.

Key takeaways from the analysis are:

• Salmon farming is an inefficient, unsustainable and potentially unhealthy method of providing fish for human consumption

• Wild fish are harvested in ever greater amounts to produce feed for farmed salmon instead of simply, and more efficiently, putting wild fish directly into the market for consumers

• Farmed salmon accumulate more toxins such as PCBs and other pesticides from feed than do farmed land animals

• Salmon farmers use vegetable-based feed that also contains terrestrial animal byproducts and synthetic antioxidants that may result in an increase in consumer exposure to pesticides, antibiotic residues, and other harmful contaminants in the farmed salmon

OCA, which advocates for organic regenerative alternatives to the industrial agriculture and aquaculture industries, opposes the NAF project on the grounds that it will be harmful to the environment and the local economy, and that it will produce an unhealthy and unsafe consumer product.

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit consumer advocacy organization focused on food, agriculture and environmental issues.