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Thousands of Atlantic salmon escape fish farm and threaten wild salmon population

August 20, 2017 wasn’t just the day before a total eclipse of the sun; it is also the day on which thousands of fish farm raised salmon escaped into Pacific waters, home of a variety of native salmon species. Believe me, this is a bigger story than you’ll ever hear from mainstream media outlets.

A net pen on a fish farm containing hundreds of thousands of salmon on the coast of Cypress Island in the San Juan Islands failed, releasing the salmon into the wild. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) estimates that from 4,000 to 5,000 of the 10-pound fish escaped. The extent of this accident concerns native tribes as well as ecologists who study the impact of farm-raised stock on wild species. Why it’s a problem when farm-raised salmon meet wild salmon There are several good reasons to keep farm-raised and wild fish apart. Native tribes in the Pacific Northwest are concerned that the farm-raised fish will compete for food with the wild salmon. This can weaken the wild stock and may reduce their numbers if food becomes scarce.

The natives also fear that the escaped fish could pass disease on to the wild salmon, again reducing their numbers if there is a massive die-off. Ecologists have concerns for another reason: farm-raised fish contain toxins that are not only unhealthy to the other predators in the ocean but also to the people who eat the fish. A study by Indiana State University found that farm-raised salmon contained much higher levels of toxins, including PCBs and dioxins. These toxins can be extremely dangerous to human health, especially people with weak immune systems such as children and the elderly. The study also discovered that the farm-raised fish were being fed something called “salmon chow”. This food consists of ground up fish and oil, and was also shown to contain high levels of toxins. The study suggested that the toxins were making their way into the farm-raised fish through their food.

Stay healthy by choosing the right salmon

As you know, many people eat salmon for its health benefits. Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids which aid in the health of blood vessels and reduce the risk of heart disease. But, it’s important to note, families who frequently eat salmon can increase their risk of accumulating toxins in the body – especially if they eat farm-raised fish.

The truth is: farm-raised salmon from all over the world has been found to have a much higher level of toxins than the wild Pacific salmon. To make sure that you and your family stay healthy, only purchase salmon that is labeled as wild caught, not farm-raised. If you can’t tell by the label, ask a store manager where the fish came from. You strive to give your family the healthiest diet by avoiding GMO products and selecting organic, pesticide-free items whenever possible. No doubt, a healthy lifestyle must include educating ourselves about the best fish to eat, so that we can avoid farm-raised salmon and minimize our exposure to toxins.

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