DECLINE IN USE OF ANTIBIOTICS IN FARMED SALMON
Decline in use of antibiotics in farmed salmon. The Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) today published its annual Sustainability Report, which documents the environmental performance and nutritional profile of farm-raised salmon. As part of the group’s efforts to drive improvements in the sustainability performance of the global fish-farming industry, the report provides a breakdown of 15 key sustainability metrics per member company and per region – documenting progress and improving industry transparency.
“We have to address the question of how we are going to feed the world a healthy diet, without further compromising the health of the planet. Aquaculture is the fastest growing global food sector, and as such we felt it was important to document the contribution farmed salmon can make to healthy, sustainable diets,” commented Sophie Ryan, GSI CEO. “Within this report, we have outlined the environmental performance and nutritional content of farm-raised salmon, allowing people to make informed choices based on up-to-date information, as well as showing where and how we plan to make further progress.”
The GSI is a leadership effort established by global farmed salmon CEOs committed to helping feed the world in a healthier, more sustainable way through advancements in responsible salmon farming. Representing 50% of the global farmed salmon industry, GSI members recognize their ability – and responsibility – to drive positive change at scale to offer healthy food, produced with minimal environmental impact.
The report highlights the eco-efficiencies of farming salmon compared with land-based animal protein, which include lower carbon footprint, higher protein retention and more efficient use of feed resources. It also includes information on its nutrient-rich profile of omega-3s, protein, vitamins D and E, and 20% of the recommended daily intake of vital micronutrients. The report is unique because it breaks down the technical detail of each of the 14 members across the sustainability indicators most critical to their responsible growth; factors such as antibiotic use, fish escapes, marine ingredient inclusion, and medicinal use.
“While sustainability reporting is becoming mainstream and many companies are now voluntarily reporting on a variety of sustainability metrics, it is not common for an industry to agree upon which metrics to use and how to measure them, and to then provide data on a public platform side-by-side with the competition. This has allowed members to demonstrate a commitment to transparency and continuous improvement in managing common resources in an environmentally responsible way.” – WWF Case Study, 2019.
The global farmed salmon industry is young and expanding quickly to meet growing demand. Amid this growth, GSI’s role is to ensure the farmed salmon industry continues to advance its strong sustainability progress and commitment to maintaining and improving farmed salmon’s nutritional profile.
“By publishing our annual sustainability report, we not only demonstrate our contribution to sustainable food systems, but also hold ourselves accountable to our ambitious sustainability targets. Using the data in the report, we are able to identify areas where further effort is required, learn from each other, and accelerate the necessary improvements,” commented Gerardo Balbontín, CEO, Blumar and GSI Chair. “Only with such innovations, at a global scale like we work on at GSI, can we ensure salmon farming continues to sustain healthy diets and more resilient global food systems.”
Key trends from the GSI Sustainability Report include:
- A 50% reduction in the use of antibiotics over the past 7 years, which can be attributed to the improvements in antibiotics stewardship, disease control and fish welfare of GSI members
- In 2019, over 710,000 tonnes of GSI member’s farmed salmon was sold as Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified, representing almost 65% of GSI members’ total production. The farms continue their journey to achieving 100% ASC certification; ASC is recognized as the most rigorous environmental standard for aquaculture
- A shift towards a more holistic approachto preventing and managing sea lice has resulted in a 50% decrease in medicinal use, and a 130% increase in non-medicinal approaches since 2013
- Continuing efforts to accelerate availability and uptake of alternative responsible feed ingredients, such as novel oils (algae and canola crops) and fish by-products, are supporting a growing industry to reduce its dependence on marine ingredients
- When compared with other animal proteins, farmed salmon represents an environmentally conscious choice, with a lower carbon footprint, requiring less land, and more efficient use of feed resources
- Farmed salmon provides a nutrient-dense food which supports healthy diets