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University of Cambridge Researcher on How Wasteful it is to Feed Wild Fish to Rear Farmed Salmon

14th April 2022
Study author Dr David Willer, research fellow at the University of Cambridge
Study author Dr David Willer, research fellow at the University of Cambridge

Farmed salmon is Britain’s largest food export by value – more valuable than anything else except beer.

Sounds impressive, but nutritious wild fish caught to sustain salmon farming is being squandered a new study maintains.

Scientists analysing the Scottish salmon farming industry calculate that an extra six million tonnes of seafood would be available annually if wild caught fish is diverted away from aquaculture feed.

The new study, as Afloat reported previously here published in the research journal PLOS Sustainability and Transformation says that limiting salmon farming to using feed made from fish by-products could result in 3.7 million tonnes of fish being left in the sea.

Dr Karen Luyckx of the Feedback ngo, which welcomed the findings, said that “until the salmon industry kicks its wild-caught fish oil and fishmeal habit, chefs and retailers should help citizens switch away from unsustainable salmon by offering ultra-nutritious mussels and small oily fish instead.”

Study author Dr David Willer, research fellow at the University of Cambridge, spoke to Wavelengths this week about the study and the reaction from industry.

Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

Email The Author

Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004) on Irish helicopter search and rescue; and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010).

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Afloat's Wavelengths Podcast with Lorna Siggins

Weekly dispatches from the Irish coast with journalist Lorna Siggins, talking to people in the maritime sphere. Topics range from marine science and research to renewable energy, fishing, aquaculture, archaeology, history, music and more...

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