The world according to Keith
This may be an unpopular view, but for the most part, I'm for salmon farming, and I think that sports fishermen should be for it as well.
Here's why: Cheap, farmed salmon will cause commercial fishing to take a nose-dive. There will be fewer commercials on the water, and that leaves more fish for sports fishermen. I've already seen a lot of press where commercials are whingeing (love that British word) about low prices for their catch because of farmed salmon. While I don't want folks to lose their source of income, in the Northwest, taxpayers support a small minority who take the large majority of fish.
HOWEVER: I think there are some great gains that have to be made before we (or at least I) can sign off on pens. The effluent from the pens-- fish feces, uneaten food, and associated meds can't be flushed out to sea. Granted Victoria does that with its sewage, but that is done a long way offshore and not in a bay.
Another problem I have is with escapees. While I would be happy with more fish to catch regardless of the species, I don't want them breeding in our streams. Maybe sterilization of all farmed fish would be an answer.
The sea lice problem certainly should be addressed, but perhaps controlling the effluent would be enough.
Finally, the biggest problem I see is the forage that is necessary to feed the buggers to start with. I've read somewhere-- don't have a clue where-- that most of the food processed for farmed salmon is made from forage fish, apparently the same forage wild fish feed upon. To me, that has the seeds for catastrophe. An alternative food source must be found that would not require taking tons upon tons of herring, anchovies and sardines from the feeding grounds of native fish.
Are there other concerns I've missed?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking for argument, but I am curious to hear other viewpoints. To me, it seems if the objections can be addressed then this could be a slam dunk for sports fishermen. If it isn't, I'd like to know why.
Juro--On the PCB thing, Whitely was pointing out, rightly I think, that if the PCB content of farmed salmon is a negative point, then (nearly) twice that level makes wild salmon less healthy to eat. Yet a lot of the marketing spin on Alaskan salmon is that it's healthy as compared to farmed fish. There may be other considerations about health issues with eating farmed fish, but using PCB contamination as a scare tactic is way off base-- assuming 32 ppb is acceptable and Whiteley's reporting are accurate. Makes you wonder about some of the other claims, doesn't it? The scary thing to me is the widespread appearance of PCB contamination-- how can it get into salmon in Alaska?