The growing popularity of farm-raised salmon has plunged the commercial fishing industry in the Pacific Northwest into a state of crisis, according to a new report by Stanford University researchers.
Writing in the October issue of ENVIRONMENT magazine, the research team found that, since the late 1980s, worldwide production of farm salmon has increased fivefold, while the market share of wild-caught salmon from Alaska, British Columbia and Washington state has steadily declined.
"Farm salmon represents one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative segments of the global aquaculture industry," said Josh Eagle, director of the Stanford Fisheries Policy Project and co-author of the ENVIRONMENT report. "In 1980, commercial fisheries produced more than 99 percent of salmon consumed worldwide. Today, they catch less than 40 percent."
"Unless some actions are taken on a national and international level, local communities and ecosystems will remain at high risk from the expansion of the global aquaculture industry," Naylor said.
The ENVIRONMENT report also was co-authored by Whitney L. Smith, a CESP research fellow. Research for the report was funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
CESP is a specialized research center within the Stanford Institute for International Studies that mobilizes a multidisciplinary network of scholars, students, policymakers and leaders to understand and help solve international environmental problems through science and policy research. The Stanford Fisheries Policy Project, a joint venture between the Stanford Law School and the universitys Hopkins Marine Station, works to improve the condition of the oceans through applied interdisciplinary research.
Ashley Dean is the assistant director for public affairs in the Stanford Center for Environmental Science and Policy.
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