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New Report Finds Farmed Salmon has Lower Environmental Cost than Pork, Beef, Chicken

13 October 2016

CANADA - A detailed assessment of consumers’ most common protein choices shows salmon raised in the ocean have the lowest overall cost to the environment.

A new study prepared for the BC Salmon Farmers Association by Ottawa based RIAS Inc. examines the evidence from life-cycle analyses in the literature on the environmental footprint of BC farm-raised salmon compared to production of other food proteins.

Through a life-cycle analysis (LCA), which the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) defines as “a tool for the systematic evaluation of the environmental aspects of a product or service system through all stages of its life cycle,” it is possible to compare different food systems based on several objective environmental measures.

The most common indicators in an ISO standardized method for measuring a “cradle-to-farm gate” approach across the animal or crop’s life are: energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, eutrophication potential, water use and land use.

Based on the valuation of greenhouse gases, land use, water use, and eutrophication, BC salmon
farming has a lower total environmental cost than beef, chicken, or pork.

Farm-raised salmon is 24 per cent less costly to the environment than chicken, while beef has a cost that is 500 per cent greater than salmon raised in an ocean environment.

  • B.C. farm raised salmon ($0.59/kg) has the lowest overall environmental cost of any of the major protein options available to consumers today.
  • Farm-raised salmon is 24 per cent less costly to the environment than chicken ($0.73/kg) to almost 500 per cent less costly than beef ($3.45/kg).

“Health professionals agree that salmon is by far the most healthy protein choice for people to eat, this study shows it’s also the most healthy protein for our planet,” said Jeremy Dunn, BC Salmon Farmers Association Executive Director.

“With world population estimated by the United Nations to grow by over two-billion by 2050, governments must consider the full environmental costs of the food we grow and eat, we have a global food supply and a global environment.”

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

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