Looking for Lochmuir
M&S win the 2019 Total Bull award for their 'Fake Loch' branding
Where does your salmon come from?
It can be difficult to know what to eat – with increasing alarm over the impact that Big Livestock has on our planet and a never-ending parade of opinion pieces telling us what should be on our plates.
But I always thought farmed salmon was one of the good things. It is marketed as healthy (loaded with Omega-3) and good for the environment (takes pressure off wild fish stocks). Scottish salmon is marketed as particularly virtuous – a local product sourced from pristine waters. Unfortunately, once you dive a little deeper into the Scottish farmed salmon industry its environmental credentials become a lot more murky.
The Scottish salmon farming industry uses hundreds of thousands of tonnes of wild-caught fish from across the globe every year to feed the salmon that ends up on our plates. In the process it dirties Scottish waters and damages local wildlife.
Farming fish requires feed: for the globally booming industry of farmed Atlantic salmon, this means feed containing wild-caught oceanic fish sourced from European, South American and West Africa waters, alongside other ingredients such as soya and vegetable oils. The Scottish industry has a large appetite for expansion – aiming to double in size by 2030. This expansion would require a massive 310,000 tonnes of extra wild fish a year. For context, the current quantity of wild fish fed to farmed Scottish salmon, 460,000 tonnes, is roughly equivalent to the amount purchased by the entire UK population, and to fulfil growth ambitions this amount would need to increase by around two thirds.
So salmon is not so sustainable after all – but you wouldn’t know that looking at the packaging on supermarket shelves. You often wouldn’t even know it is farmed – with beautiful images of lochs and not a farming pen in site. Around 60% of the world’s salmon production is farmed, and in Scotland this figure reaches 100%, with the last commercial wild salmon fishery closing in late 2018. Marks & Spencer have gone one step further and created a fake loch ‘Lochmuir’ to market their farmed salmon. We think this is a load of bull and that’s why M&S have won our 2019 Total Bull award. Total Bull is the campaign to shine a light on the biggest bull on our supermarket shelves. We hold food companies to account for their misleading marketing and call on them to support sustainable practices before it is too late. Join us and write to M&S now!