Mailbag: Responsibly Farmed Salmon

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I want to thank Garry Brown from the Orange County Coastkeeper for giving us at Skuna Bay Salmon an opportunity to address the many misconceptions Mr. Brown has of our Skuna Bay salmon farm operations [Green column, NB Indy, Sept. 27] located in the isolated, glacier-fed waters off of Vancouver Island.

Since Mr. Brown has not had a chance to see the operation for himself, nor has he requested information from us or had a personal conversation, I can understand why he has such misunderstanding about our responsible salmon farming operations.

First let me say that we harbour no animosity towards Mr. Brown. Clearly in his role with the Orange County Coastkeeper, Mr. Brown is dedicating his personal time towards keeping our Pacific Ocean healthy, something that our farmers also dedicate their lives to. That’s what makes it so important to correct Mr. Brown’s many misconceptions – we want him as an ally as we demonstrate to others how to farm salmon in their natural, ocean environment in a responsible way.

Skuna Bay Salmon is proud to be leading change in showing others how to raise salmon responsibly. We do it by ensuring our craftsman farmers live on the farm with their salmon for eight days in a row, 24/7, doing nothing except raising good fish and keeping our waters pristine. We do it by leading the world in low use of wild fish in our feed (with a “fish in/fish out” ratio of 1:1). We do it by using the industry’s only corrugated, recyclable carton and we do it by offsetting all of the carbon generated by our freight through Terra Pass carbon offsets, the only farmer to do this.

We lead by fallowing all of our farms after harvest so that the seabed can return to its natural, original state and we do it by keeping our pen densities low (98.5% water and only 1.5% fish). We do it by being the first farmer in the world to harvest all of our fish from Best Aquaculture Practices certified farms (and by the way, one of the well-respected Monterey Bay Aquarium’s esteemed professionals sits on that standards board).

We do it by being considered to be “operating responsibly and continuing to make measurable progress towards reducing impacts” by the Aquarium of the Pacific at Long Beach. We do all of this with an eye on detail so that every time our fish arrives in the chef’s kitchen three days after being pulled from the Pacific Ocean by our craftsman farmers, it arrives in fresh-from-the-ocean condition every time.

The one thing that is certain in rearing salmon in the ocean is that the bar for accountability and transparency is higher than anywhere else in the seafood world. So we don’t just ask people to take our word for it – we have had almost 200 of America’s greatest chefs, food media and seafood purveyors visit our farms in person to observe our practices and ask any questions they want. Many of those live right here in Orange County and are well known as the best of the best. If you see our salmon on a menu here in Orange County ask to speak to the chef – chances are he or she has visited our farms in person and can speak personally about our responsible practices.

Thank you again Mr. Brown for allowing us to correct your many misconceptions and please feel free to reach out in person for any further clarification you may require. You can also visit our website at for more information.


Dave Mergle,

Skuna Bay Salmon

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