Salmon… Farmed: Diseased and Toxic!

Farmed: Diseased and Toxic!

Do you eat salmon? If so, please watch, read and learn, and most importantly, PLEASE don’t eat farmed salmon or feed it to your pets!

 Salmon Confidential

What is happening with salmon, has happened before. In fact, it’s very similar to what has happened regarding MCS/ES.

Missing Fraser River Sockeye  via Leanne Hodges

Missing Fraser River Sockeye
Photo via Leanne Hodges

In addition to the diseases being found in most farmed salmon now, there are many toxic chemicals used in farmed salmon feed and in the pesticides that are used to “treat” the viruses. You wouldn’t want to BE a farmed salmon, nor would you want to eat any, or feed them to your family or pets if you knew all this!

‘Organic’ farmed salmon misleads conscientious consumers
21 August 2013

Diets of Pregnant Women Contain Harmful, Hidden Toxins

…”Staggering” levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been found in farmed salmon.” …


“Farmed Salmon: Unhealthy and Unsustainable”
(2010) by Jean-Michel Cousteau, first son of Jacques Cousteau

I just got the new IKEA catalogue, and they make a big deal out of using farmed salmon. You might want to let them know that serving harmful food to their customers is not a good business strategy.

New: Smoked Farmed Salmon and Listeria

Listeria in Smoked Salmon: Examining the Risk

Listeria monocytogenes bacteria detected in some ready-to-eat smoked salmon samples sparked a rash of recalls in recent months, with major fish producers such as Ocean Beauty, Marine Harvest and Pacific Seafood Group, plus retail giants including Whole Foods Market, Walmart and Ralph’s, getting caught in the recall net.

“Difficult to detect or cure, listeriosis may start with a fever or stiff neck and then progress to confusion and convulsions, encephalitis and meningitis. Nearly everyone who gets invasive listeriosis requires hospitalization and a weeks-long course of intravenous antibiotics. Odds are that the disease will kill one out of every five victims, giving it the highest mortality rate of foodborne pathogens.”

More Research and Resources:

Infected salmon declared fit for human consumption by Canadian Food Inspection Agency

“The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has approved a quarter million Nova Scotia salmon infected with the ISA virus for human consumption, but the U.S. won’t take the fish.”

““Infectious salmon anemia poses no human health or food safety risk, and there is strong scientific proof of this,” the agency wrote in an email to the Star.

In 2010, a team from the Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University published a study on the virus and concluded it poses no threat to humans because it is deactivated at our body temperature.”


From the actual study:

“Because there is still some controversy about the possibility of vertical transmission, some fish industries (including the U.S.) have adopted broodstock screening techniques for ISA.”


the only comment about humans in this study, which is what is referred to by industry and CFIA as “strong evidence” is the following statement:

“Public Health”
“There is no indication that ISAV can affect humans. Because this virus is inactivated at body temperatures of 37°C- 40°C (98.6-104°F), it is unlikely to infect any mammal or bird.”


THAT is their “strong evidence” that diseased salmon does not pose a threat to human (or animal) health


I don’t know about you, but I like my “strong evidence” to be stronger than that, and based on years of independent research! Until then, I prefer using the precautionary approach, which is that if there’s evidence of the possibility of a problem, we don’t subject the public to it!

There’s a saying:

“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” and industries regularly say there’s no evidence of harm when no-one has ever done any research to see one way or another, or while deliberately hiding any evidence that does show harm! Harming others is not an acceptable way to live or earn a living.

Pesticide use in ‘organic salmon’ questioned by NGO
Irish “organic” farmed salmon?


Chemical inputs to the marine environment from aquaculture activities generally fall into two categories: intentional and unintentional inputs. Intentional inputs include pesticides, drugs, antifoulants, anaesthetics and disinfectants. Unintentional inputs include contaminants from fish feeds additives and so-called inert ingredients in pesticide and drug formulations. This report addresses the current status of intentional chemical inputs, regulation and research in the salmon aquaculture industry in Norway, Scotland, Canada and Chile. Research gaps are identified and recommendations presented.


Eat More Fish?
The health/environment conundrum

There is also the animal welfare problem. As with livestock in terrestrial factory farms, fish in aquatic factory farms suffer from severe overcrowding and its side effects—the aforementioned disease and parasites, as well as physical injury. They are also inhumanely slaughtered. (PDF)

For all my fellow wild salmon warriors!! I wrote this for all of us! Hope you like it….wild salmon

by Addie Hollingsworth

Sacred salmon swimming slow, beneath the waves of tidal flow. The sun and eagles high above Dear sacred salmon please hear my love.

You start your lives brave and small, creeks soon turn into rivers. Urged on each day by ocean’s call, silvery, pink life givers.

The whale, the bear, the cedar tree, rely on you for survival Dear sacred salmon swimming free, ancient eternal revival.

Casting nets into the waters, a time for elders to teach. come near my sons, watch close my daughters, gifts from the Gods we can reach.

Red and orange, yellow and green, colours that contrast the rocks. Thrashing tails waterdrop sheen, spawning new life into stocks.

Sacred salmon dying slow, force within transferring flow. Your precious eggs silently wait, tales old as time, pre-ordained fates.

The spirit of salmon echoes all through B.C., generations are built from your bones. strong future for salmon my vision to see a keystone like no other has shown.

Dear sacred salmon please hear my cry, I vow to be your voice. There is no need to wonder why for my heart has made the choice.


Salmon  (in progress)  by Leanne Hodges

(photo of a work in progress)
by Leanne Hodges

Artist Leanne Hodges

Alexandra Morton

Whales Don’t Eat Farmed Salmon: Why Should We?
by Alexandra Morton

Salmon Confidential

From Claudette Bethune:

15 Toxins commonly found in farmed salmon:  VG Article and analysis

Levels are comparable to those determined by NIFES

 (  seafood database)

Toxicity profiles available from:


1. DDT:  Insecticide found in fish oils and fishmeal used in fish feed. Found in 54 of 55 samples. Concentrations of 0.1 and 8.1 μg/kg in tested farmed salmon. Possible damage: probable carcinogen


2. Emamectin: Insecticide. Added to fish feed to reduce sea lice and infectious salmon anemia. Found in 5 of 77 samples, between 2.5 and 10 μg/kg. Possible damage: There is little evidence as to the full effects of exposure on human health

How might exposure to it affect human health?

Emamectin benzoate can enter the body either by inhalation of air containing emamectin benzoate, ingestion of contaminated food or water, or by dermal contact with emamectin benzoate. There is little evidence as to the full effects of exposure to emamectin benzoate on human health. However, exposure to emamectin benzoate may cause irritation of the respiratory tract, eyes and skin. Animal studies suggest that exposure to emamectin benzoate may also cause tremors. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has not designated emamectin benzoate in terms of its carcinogenicity. However, exposure to emamectin benzoate at normal background levels is unlikely to have any adverse effect on human health.

“Emamectin benzoate is effective against several stages of the salmon louse, the copepodite, chalimus, mobile pre-adult and adult stages. Due to the spread of infectious salmon anaemia (ISA), it is desirous for the treatment to kill the salmon louse at all stages of its life, since the salmon louse can function as a carrier of ISA (Nylund et al., 1994).


Based on residue concentration tests in salmon, researchers in many countries have found no need for any retention period. This applies to the EU and Chile, for example. Nevertheless, the United Kingdom and Chile have a rule that fish may not be treated more than once during the 60 days before slaughtering, which is not really relevant in any case. In Norway there was once a requirement of zero residue instead of an MRL, and therefore a retention period of 120 days. The Norwegian system with the zero threshold was justified on the basis of marketing considerations whereby Norwegian fish would be able to be marketed as “completely” pure. In practice this meant that the detection threshold of the testing method in question was the applicable threshold. This has now been abolished and replaced with an MRL.”


3. Pentachlorobenzene: Persistent organic pollutant found in fish oils and fishmeal used in fish feed. Found in 34 of 55 samples, between 0.1 and 0.3 μg/kg. Potential Damage: Exposure can affect the liver and kidneys and can cause tissue lesions and possibly cause toxic effects on reproduction.


4. Lindane :  Insecticide composed of alpha, beta, gamma, and delta hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) found in fish oils and fishmeal used in fish feed.

alpha-HCH: Found in 24 of 55 samples between 0.1 and 0.3 μg/kg.

Gamma-HCH: Found in 15 of 55 samples between 0.03 and 0.2 μg/kg.

Potential Damage: Possible carcinogen


5. Chlordane:  Insecticide composed of a mixture of many related chemicals, of which about 10 are major components.Found in fish oils and fishmeal used in fish feed.

Cis-nonachlor: Found in 49 of 55 samples; between 0.01 and 1.0 μg/kg.

Trans-nonachlor: Found in 54 of 55 samples, between 0.1 and 2.8 μg/kg.

Oxy-chlordane: Found in 48 of 55 samples, between 0.02 and 0.69 μg/kg.

Cis-Chlordane: Found in 52 of 55 samples between 0.03 and 2.8 μg/kg.

Trans-Chlordane: Found in 39 of 55 samples, between 0.2 and 0.3 μg/kg

Potential Damage: Neurological


6. Toxaphene: Insecticide consisting of a mixture of over 177 compounds. Human exposure to toxaphene is mainly through consumption of contaminated fish. Found in fish oil and fishmeal in fish feed.

Toxaphene 26: Found in 37 of 55 samples, between 0.04 and 3.1 μg/kg.

Toxaphene 40-41: Found in 39 of 55 samples, between 0.02 and 2 μg/kg.

Toxaphene 42: Found in 40 of 55 samples, between 0.02 and 2 μg/kg.

Toxaphene 50: Found in 55 of 55 samples; between 0.3 and 3.5 μg/kg.

Toxaphene 62:  Found in 50 of 55 samples, between 0.03 and 2 μg/kg.

Potential Damage: Probable carcinogen

 “EU legislation on upper limits of toxaphene in feed and food include the congeners CHB-26, CHB-62 and CHB-50 and is set at 50 µg kg−1 feed for the sum of these three congeners. However, due to their elevated presence in fish, also the congeners CHB-40&41, CHB-44, and CHB-42 should be included according the European Food Safety Authorities (EFSA. 2005. Opinion of the scientific panel on contaminants in the food chain on a request from the commission related to camphechlor as an undesirable substance in animal feed. EFSA J. 179:1–39). “


7. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs):  Persistent organic pollutant found in fish oils and fishmeal used in fish feed. Previously used in industrial products such as paper and paint. Found in 47 of 54 samples between 0.5 and 10.3 μg/kg. Possible damage: May cause impaired immune function, impaired nervous system function, impairs future fertility of the fetus and is a known carcinogen.


8. Mirex: Insecticide found in fish oil and fishmeal in feed. Found in 20 of 55 samples, between 0.04 and 0.3 μg/kg. Potential Damage: Negative effects on the nervous system and is a possible carcinogen

9. Brominated flame retardants: Consisting of 209 forms, like PCBs, 7 forms are found to accumulate in nature as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE 7). Used in clothing, chairs, blankets and other products to reduce flammability. Environmental pollutant in fish oil and fishmeal in fish feed. Found in 29 of 29 samples, between 0.1-1 μg/kg.  Possible damage: impairs thyroid function, Liver toxicity, reduced and impaired fertility hormone system, lowers IQ in children.

Flame Retardants Linked to Lower IQs, Hyperactivity in Children

A new study confirms that exposure in the womb to fire-beating chemicals in furniture and carpet pads may hinder child development


10. EndosulfanInsecticide currently sold as a mixture of two different forms of the same chemical (referred to as alpha- and beta-endosulfan). Found in fish oil, fishmeal and vegetable oil used in fish feed. Endosulfan sulfate form found in 34 of 55 samples, between 0.02 and 0.5 μg/kg.

Alpha Endulsofan: Found in 23 of 55 samples, between 0.02 and 5.8 μg/kg.

Beta-Endosulfan: Found in 21 of 55 samples, between 0.03 and 1.2 μg/kg.

Potential Damage: Negative effects on the nervous system and possible reproductive toxicity.

11. Cadmium: Industrial chemical found as a contaminant with zinc extraction for use in animal feeds, and vegetable oil which is used increasingly in fish feed. Found in 33 of 328 samples; between 0.001 and 0.05 mg/kg. Possible damage: Kidney failure, known carcinogen

12. Hexachlorobenzene (HCB):  It is formed as a by-product during the manufacture of chemicals used as solvents (substances used to dissolve other substances), other chlorine-containing compounds, and pesticides. Found in fish oil and fishmeal used in fish feed. Found in 54 of 55 samples, between 0.1 and 2.2 μg/kg. Potential Damage: Negative effects on many systems, including the nervous system, listed as probably carcinogenic. Unborn children and young children may be more sensitive to these effects than adults.

13. Dioxins: A family of toxic chemicals classified as dioxin or dioxin-like by their effects. A by-product of combustion and earlier of PCB production and found in fish oil and fishmeal used in fish feed. Found in 29 of 29 samples, the sum of the main dioxin and dioxin-like compounds between 0.1 to 1.2 ng per toxic equivalent/kg. Possible damage: Known carcinogen, harms the fetus, weakens the immune system

14. Mercury:  Industrial chemical found in fishmeal in fish feed. Found in nature as methylmercury. Methylmercury accumulates up the food chain, so that fish at the top of the food chain will have the most mercury in their flesh. Of these fish, the largest (i.e., the oldest) fish will have the highest levels.  Found in 327 of 328 samples, between 0.01 and 0.13 mg/kg. Possible damage: Weakens the immune system, can cause fetal abnormalities and impaired learning ability of children.

15. Dieldrin/Aldrin:  Insecticide also as found as isodrin and found in fish oil and fishmeal used in fish feed. Found in 55 of 55 samples, between 0.1 and 3.9 μg/kg.

Isodrin: Found in 3 of 55 samples between 0.003 and 1.6 μg/kg

Potential Damage: Negative effect on nervous system and a probable carcinogen.


From 30 July 2013: The Norwegian Institute for Nutrition and Seafood Safety (NIFES) published their monitoring report for 2012 to fulfill EU sampling and reporting of the contaminants found in Norwegian farmed salmon in order to sell fish there.

I note from the values presented in the report that a 200 gram recommended serving size of Norwegian farmed salmon delivers an exposure greater than the tolerable weekly intake for methyl mercury and exceeds the tolerable daily intake for dioxin/dioxin-like PCBs currently established by the EU (2 pg TEQ-WHO)/kg body weight).

Just 2 servings of 200 grams recommended serving size of Norwegian farmed salmon from 2012 can exceed the tolerable weekly intake (TWI) for adults (60 kg) and greatly exceeds the tolerable intake for children. From EFSA “The CONTAM Panel considered new scientific information regarding the toxicity of these forms of mercury and established a TWI for inorganic mercury of 4 µg/kg body weight (bw) and a TWI for methylmercury of 1.3 µg/kg bw (lower than JECFA’s TWI of 1.6 µg/kg bw). Average exposure to methylmercury in food is unlikely to exceed the TWI, but the likelihood of reaching such a level increases for high and frequent fish consumers. This group may include pregnant women, resulting in exposure of the fetus at a critical period in brain development.”

The observed values for cadmium in the 2013 report show that farmed salmon levels are only just below the EU maximum levels of 0.05 mg/kg ww, a cause for concern due to the doubling of the feed limit for cadmium from 0.5 mg/kg to 1.0 mg/kg feed in 2005. We know that fish do not uptake much Cd, but benthic organisms such as crabs do. This should be cause for concern regarding Cd contamination to the environment (

With respect to feeds, since 2011 we know that organochlorine pesticides, PCDD/Fs, PCBs, and brominated flame retardants carry-over from feed 5-10 times in farmed salmon as compared to terrestrial farm animals:

To know what is actually in the feed is a guess for most countries (note crystal violet detected in Chilean salmon by the US FDA) especially for antibiotic use, as summarized on Page 11 here: “The use of antibiotics included in the feed remains largely unrestricted in aquaculture in several countries with high and growing aquaculture production. Information on types and amounts of therapeutic agents used in aquaculture throughout the world is not easily obtainable, since only a few nations provide reliable, detailed and accessible statistics on consumption of these drugs…”

Farmed salmon… a really bad idea any way you look at it…

Thank you to all the wild salmon people out there.

18 responses to “Salmon… Farmed: Diseased and Toxic!

  1. I like your dedication to factual detail. Keep up the good work. Best wishes. Uldis

  2. what will it take to get our government to clue in on this??
    don’t they eat salmon too?? Once again they are being mislead with bad information by large companies that benefit from this type of garbage.
    Unbelievable!! Alex, you go girl~ keep up the fight and the noble work on our behalf and the salmon’s!!!

    • The government is completely knowledgeable and in on this insanity – watch the whole film Salmon Confidential. It’s a thriller!
      And yes, Alexandra Morton is a modern day heroine! We should support her efforts in any way we can.

  3. You realize that there are currently 26 million pink salmon returning to the same river as the sockeye right now? These fish pass the same salmon farms as sockeye. Clearly the farms are not affecting the pinks. Maybe, just maybe, it’s something else affecting the sockeye. Like the fact that they are a high-value fish that everyone wants to catch.

    • Hmm… Since you are commenting to represent the fish farm industry, why are farmed salmon so diseased and toxic? And why are these other salmon so diseased with the same diseases imported from fish farms in Norway?

      • A) they are not, and B) they are not. So how about those 26 million pink salmon? Any thoughts on that?

        • So are you saying that everyone except the farmed salmon industry is imagining there’s a problem?

          • I’ll answer your question, if you answer this: How come there are 26 million pink salmon in the Fraser River right now?

            • Your further diversionary comments will not be approved. My blog post is about toxic and diseased farmed salmon which happen to spread disease and toxic waste. If you want to discuss that, with evidence and cited references, then please do. Otherwise please look into your heart and soul because those are the places that will matter when you face death, not the contents of your bank account.

  4. Salmon are on a 4 year cycle, the plague of disease spewing salmon feed lots that have effects on out/in migrating salmon need to be correlated with disease occurrence and wild salmon returns. Please show us some disease data during the migration periods for Pinks, then lets discuss serious things like temporal changes in wild Pacific salmon due to disease pressure from salmon feedlots.

  5. For example, some useful information (where one would hope a salmon farmer would go for information) is presented below. What are the disease records from farmed salmon during this period and over time?

    Dis Aquat Organ. 2013 Jul 22;105(2):149-61. doi: 10.3354/dao02616.
    Sea lice infestations on juvenile chum and pink salmon in the Broughton Archipelago, Canada, from 2003 to 2012.

    Patanasatienkul T, Sanchez J, Rees EE, Krkosek M, Jones SR, Revie CW.
    Source Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

    Juvenile pink salmon Oncorhynchus gorbuscha and chum salmon O. keta were sampled by beach or purse seine to assess levels of sea lice infestation in the Knight Inlet and Broughton Archipelago regions of coastal British Columbia, Canada, during the months of March to July from 2003 to 2012. Beach seine data were analyzed for sea lice infestation that was described in terms of prevalence, abundance, intensity, and intensity per unit length. The median annual prevalence for chum was 30%, ranging from 14% (in 2008 and 2009) to 73% (in 2004), while for pink salmon, the median was 27% and ranged from 10% (in 2011) to 68% (in 2004). Annual abundance varied from 0.2 to 5 sea lice per fish with a median of 0.47 for chum and from 0.1 to 3 lice (median 0.42) for pink salmon. Annual infestation followed broadly similar trends for both chum and pink salmon. However, the abundance and intensity of Lepeophtheirus salmonis and Caligus clemensi, the 2 main sea lice species of interest, were significantly greater on chum than on pink salmon in around half of the years studied. Logistic regression with random effect was used to model prevalence of sea lice infestation for the combined beach and purse seine data. The model suggested inter-annual variation as well as a spatial clustering effect on the prevalence of sea lice infestation in both chum and pink salmon. Fish length had an effect on prevalence, although the nature of this effect differed according to host species.”

  6. Love it! We have got to keep pushing back against the misinformation and disinformation being spewed out by the salmon farming industry. Thanks for this incredibly detailed post!

    • Thanks for stopping by!
      I don’t want people (or anyone else, furry, feathered, finned or otherwise) getting sick from the toxic, diseased and mistreated farmed salmon.

  7. Thanks for the alert, Linda. I had no idea. Excellent videos.

    • You are welcome!
      Industries have a lot of (often taxpayer subsidized) money to advertise their products while hiding the full truth about them and the consequences of using or eating them. We are the ones who bear the burdens of health-care costs and polluted environment (which includes our polluted bodies). They just pocket the $$$, having been allowed to offload the true costs of their business practices. We have been subjected to these harms without our informed consent.

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