Salmon industry making major sustainability strides – report

THE farmed salmon industry has emerged as one of the most environmentally conscious and sustainable food production methods in the world, a new report finds.

The Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) has just published its Annual Sustainability Report, providing eight years of data across 14 key indicators – 10 environmental and four social – and it paints a highly encouraging picture.

The GSI is a CEO-led initiative of 13 salmon farming companies, representing 40% of the global salmon production industry with all members fully committed to showing measurable progress in the sustainability of their operations through greater collaboration, transparency and innovation.

Key trends from the 2020 Sustainability Report include:

• A 60% reduction in the average use of antibiotics since GSI’s foundation in 2013, which can be attributed to the improvements in antibiotics stewardship, disease control and fish welfare led by GSI members

• Continued efforts to accelerate availability and uptake of alternative responsible feed ingredients, such as novel oils (i.e. algae) and fish by-products, are supporting a growing industry to reduce its dependence on marine ingredients. This has led to an average decrease of marine ingredients in fish oil of 11% and fish meal of 40% since 2013

• A shift towards a more holistic approach to preventing and managing sea lice resulted in a 50% decrease in medicinal use on average among GSI members since 2013, with a 96% decrease in in-feed treatments as companies shift to non-medicinal management practices

• 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 is a nutrient-dense food that supports healthy diets. Since its formation in 2013, GSI members have targeted their efforts on accelerating progress against the most significant environmental challenges facing the sector: biosecurity and sustainable feed sourcing, as well as motivating industry progress towards third-party certification.

• Building on a nearly decade-long partnership, GSI and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are developing an industry-wide reporting framework to measure greenhouse gas emissions for the aquaculture sector and identify ways to mitigate climate impact.

• As a member of the UN Food Systems Summit Champions Network and recent co-host of a Food Systems Summit Dialogue, the GSI is helping to identify and activate game-changing solutions for food systems transformation. In doing so, it seeks to demonstrate the essential role blue foods play in current and future food systems that are inclusive, healthy, sustainable and resilient.

Publication of the report also marks the launch of GSI’s new resource hub, which includes infographics and case studies highlighting the work of GSI task forces and how GSI drives salmon farming and food system change at speed and scale. To access these resources and learn more about how GSI members’ farmed salmon is raised to be better, visit

Regin Jacobsen, Bakkafrost CEO and GSI co-chair said: “What started out as a means of making each of us members accountable has become a key tool in helping us identify where we need to make greater progress, and then challenging the GSI platform to find solutions and implement them – with the end goal of ensuring a more sustainable industry and a more responsible product for consumers.”

The other co-chair, Sady Delgado, CEO of AquaChile, added:“ As an industry we continue to face challenges, and no doubt will face more in the years to come. I believe the platform GSI provides will be crucial in helping us move forward, and we can only move forward when the facts are laid on the table. For this reason, the Sustainability Report remains as crucial to our progress as it did in year one.”


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