Monday, October 5, 2009

Salmon Win!

Photo: Creative Commons license by david.nikonvscanon

"End to the Klamath War"

After a long and bitter battle, 4 dams on the Klamath River will be removed by the utility company PacificCorp who owns them, although the 2 in California and Oregon will not come down for another 10 years.

The winners are the salmon, the farmers who will get more water downstream, Native American tribes, and the controversial Endangered Species Act.

Actually there are no losers. PacificCorp said it will cost around $200 million to take down the dams, but that's about what it would cost them to build fish passages around the dams to increase the chances of survival for the salmon. Salmon die after they spawn, but if enough don't get the chance to spawn, there are fewer salmon every year.

Salmon is one of my absolute favorite foods, although I don't eat much of it anymore. I cannot afford the wild salmon, now running over $16 per pound if you can get it at all. Too bad, because wild salmon is not only delicious, but high in protein, vitamin D, and Omega-3 fatty acids.

The more affordable salmon in the grocery stores is all farm-raised. They are fed a fish chow, which is rather like the grain-based cat chow or dog chow, and contains all sorts of questionable ingredients. Farmed salmon often contains high levels of dioxins, and up to 8X the PCB's of wild salmon. The farm-raised salmon also develop much lower amounts of Omega-3, and in a form more difficult for the human system to utilize.

In addition, farm raised salmon is dyed the orange-red color we associate with salmon. Wild salmon get that natural coloration from their diet which contains
krill (a tiny shrimp-like zooplankton) and other tiny shellfish.

99% of the Atlantic salmon world-wide is farmed-raised; they out-number wild Atlantic salmon 85 to 1. More of the Pacific salmon is wild-caught, and most canned salmon is Pacific salmon. Trout are in the same family, and the statistics are very similar for wild vs farmed.

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