Harmoniously Raised is our approach to sustainable salmon farming. Our goal is to maintain harmony and balance, with nature. That means keeping the demand for salmon in line with our more environmentally conscious fish farming techniques. Our intention is to reduce depletion of precious resources, protect local biodiversity, and ensure the optimal health of our farmed salmon. To ensure this balance, we continuously adapt to the demands of all three.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 82% of fisheries are harvested at or above sustainable levels today. And worldwide demand for seafood continues to grow*.
To meet this demand, we have to improve fish farming techniques on a global basis. It’s not just a matter of wild salmon vs farmed salmon. Both wild and farmed salmon have to meet sustainability standards to ensure their long-term availability. This is why Harmoniously Raised matters. We believe our approach to sustainable salmon farming addresses increasing demand without compromising the health of the environment, our salmon, or you.
* The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture, 2010; p 34 FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome ISBN 978-921-5-106675-1
At the center of our fish farming techniques is a breakthrough innovation in salmon feed. With traditionally farmed salmon, four pounds of wild-caught feeder fish are required to to raise one pound of salmon. By replacing the fish oil in our salmon’s diet with yeast rich in omega-3s, we’re able to bring the ratio of 4-to-1 down to 1-to-1, while still ensuring the optimal growth and development of our fish.
This change is an important aspect of sustainable salmon farming worldwide. Harvest levels for wild feeder fish are already at or slightly above sustainable levels. By using an alternative source of omega-3s, we can ensure the availability of healthy salmon for the foreseeable future.
Verlasso manages its farms to prevent escapes. Escapes are often the result of natural disasters, vandalism, predator attacks, and human mishandling. To reduce the potential for escapes, we use a double-net system that ensures the safety of both our salmon and their wild predators. The double nets create a buffer zone around the pens that are less likely to break—and the salmon are less likely to cross. Because predators can’t reach the salmon as easily, they are less likely to harm themselves trying to get inside the pens.
Additionally, if salmon do escape, there are no wild salmon populations in the Patagonia region. This means wild salmon vs. farmed salmon, and its environmental implications, is much less of a concern.
Verlasso’s approach to sustainably farmed salmon ensures the health of the salmon while minimizing environmental impact. Our fish farming techniques include:
Infectious salmon anemia, or ISA, is a virus that affects Atlantic salmon but not humans. In the past, ISA has been found in Canada, Scotland, Norway, Faroe Islands and Chile. To reduce the likelihood of ISA, the Chilean government has introduced a variety of new environmental protections, including designating ocean “neighborhoods” to increase the distances between fish farms. This prevents the concentration of farms and overcrowding in a single location.
Verlasso takes this measure further by lowering pen densities to less than four fish per ton of water. Our salmon production is also coordinated to ensure rest periods for neighborhoods between growing cycles. This allows the environment to recover and the water to rejuvenate before the next batch of salmon is started. ISA currently poses much less of a threat to our salmon.
Verlasso seeks the guidance of environmental NGOs to ensure we’re using the best fish farming techniques possible. We are guided by the proposed standards of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, a group founded by the World Wildlife Fund. When these standards are finalized, our goal is to meet and exceed them.
In the meantime, our “fish in, fish out” and pen density standards have been certified by Det Norske Veritas (DNV), an independent organization committed to sustainable fish farming techniques and the health of the ocean’s ecosystems. For more information, see: http://www.verlasso.com/farming/fish-in-fish-out/certification.
Salmon get omega-3s from their diets. Currently these omega-3s come from the fish oil provided by wild-caught feeder fish like herring, anchovies, and mackerel. Our more sustainably farmed salmon are fed a diet in which omega-3s come from yeast, which reduces our dependence on feeder fish—and helps preserve their wild populations.
The Patagonian waters of Chile provide ideal conditions for growing salmon. The ocean is free of contaminants from industrial development, which reduces the toxins the fish come in contact with. Chilean-raised salmon’s PCB content is also ranked lowest among sustainably farmed salmon worldwide. Salmon are also not native to the region, so there is no risk of competition with local wild populations.
Verlasso salmon has a clean mouth feel, firm texture, and is ideal to cook with because it stays nice and moist. The fish’s fat content is between traditionally farmed and wild salmon, which we think allows you the best of both worlds, lean and moist.