Statistical Grok: Weighing Salmon Statisticsby Bill Chameides | August 8th, 2008
posted by Erica Rowell (Editor)
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Chinook salmon numbers are so low that most of the West Coast chinook fishery was shut down this year.
As summer gets into full swing and recreational chefs fire up grills, turning plots of land into backyard bistros, chances are high that salmon is on the menu. If so, here are some facts to sink your teeth into before purchasing that salmon steak or fillet — facts that carry environmental weight.
Where salmon places among America’s top seafood choices: 3rd*
Approximately how many Americans eat salmon: 25%
How many Americans eat salmon more than once a month: 23 million
How many eat it more than twice a week: 180,000
How much salmon eaten by Americans is farmed: 90%
Amount of fish required to feed one pound of farm-raised salmon: 3 lbs.
PCB concentrations in farmed salmon in the United States and Canada: 5 to 10 times higher than those in wild salmon**
Number of species of Atlantic salmon: 1
Number of wild Atlantic species available for eating: 0***
Year the Atlantic salmon fishery was closed: 1999
Year Atlantic salmon was put on the endangered species list: 2000
Amount of fish sold as “Atlantic salmon” that is farmed: 100%
First year the commercial chinook fishery was closed in California and parts of Oregon due to low populations: 2008
Estimated economic losses to California, Oregon, and Washington from West Coast salmon declines this year: $290 million and 4,200 jobs
* Canned tuna is America’s second favorite, and shrimp is Americans’ number one choice.
** Because wild fish eat a wide variety of fish and phytoplanktan compared to farmed fish who eat highly concentrated fish feed, wild fish tend to have much lower levels of contaminants such as PCBs.
*** Because they are endangered, wild Atlantic salmon are illegal to catch.
“200 Years of Troubled Waters for Atlantic Salmon,” Bangor Daily News, September 16, 2006 bangornews.com/news/t/statewide.aspx?articleid=140542&zoneid=500
“Commerce Secretary Declares West Coast Fishery Failure; Opens Door for Disaster Relief” – The Columbia Basin Bulletin, May 02, 2008
Burros, Marian. “Farmed Salmon Is Said to Contain High PCB Levels,” New York Times, July 30, 2003
“PCBs in Farmed Salmon; Farmed Salmon Consumption Is Up” – Environmental Working Group
Goldburg, Rebecca and Tracy Triplett. “Murky Waters: Environmental Effects of Aquaculture in the U.S.” – Environmental Defense Fund
Hites, Ronald A. et al. “Global Assessment of Organic Contaminants in Farmed Salmon,” Science 303 DOI: 10.1126/science.1091447, 226 (2004)
Lackey, Robert T. “Restoring Wild Salmon to the Pacific Northwest: Chasing an Illusion?” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
“Wild Salmon Is Still the Best Choice” – Environmental Defense Fund www.edf.org/article.cfm?contentID=5323
“Shrimp, Canned Tuna lead NFI’s Top 10 Most Popular List” – National Fisheries Institute (NFI)
and: fish, salmon