The film aims to draw international attention to the fight to protect Iceland’s marine environment.
April 4, 2019, Reykjavik. International clothing company Patagonia will be hosting a world premiere of the documentary film Artifishal in Iceland next week in order to draw global attention to the threat of open net pen farming in the country.
The company has partnered with Icelandic NGO the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF) to support its Against the Current campaign. This effort is fighting the expansion of aquaculture in open net pens in Iceland and seeks to educate the public about the benefits of fish farming on land or in closed net pens.
“We are excited to partner with Patagonia in focusing international attention on the issue of open net pen farming in Iceland. It comes during a critical time, with the current fish farming bill before Parliament,” stated NASF Chairman Fridleifur Gudmundsson.
As a result of the campaign, over 10,000 concerned individuals have signed a petition seeking a move toward closed containment instead of expanding open net pen production.
Artifishal discusses, among other things, the harmful effects of open net pens on salmon stocks on the coast of Norway, where open net pen farming is conducted on a larger scale. As has been pointed out in the public debate, open net pens are a pathway to disease and pollution, both on shores and in rivers.
The film also focuses considerable attention on unsuccessful efforts in North America to undo and justify harms caused by dams and fish farms. This involves an examination of so-called hatcheries in the United States, where salmon is cultivated in plants rather than being allowed to spawn in their natural environment.
“While such activities are rarely found in Iceland, we appreciate the lessons learned by conservationists in the US,” stated Gudmundsson. “Iceland has struggled with the stocking dilemma in the past and has learned from its mistakes. Here, the limited stocking that does still occur is done in a sustainable and natural way.”
“It is key to note the distinction between native stocking programs and the harms caused by escaped farmed fish,” said Gudmundsson. “These escapees are all Norwegian, and they’ve been bred to be eaten, not to survive in the wild. When they reproduce with native stock, they permanently weaken those lines and decrease the likelihood of survival for Icelandic salmon.”
NASF launched the Against the Current campaign (againstthecurrent.is) in late 2018. The fund has hosted informational meetings and presentations, and sought to provide citizens with information about the environmental impacts of open net pen farming. It should be noted that the documentary is not made or premiered by NASF (North Atlantic Salmon Fund).
Along with the production of quality outdoor clothing, Patagonia has for many years been devoted to nature conservation, in many cases in collaboration with NGOs.
Greenland salmon harvest adjusted upward
Report indicates catch now exceeds 20 tonne conservation agreement cap
ST. ANDREWS – The Atlantic Salmon Federation is surprised and disappointed by the latest catch statistics from the Greenland Ministry of Fisheries, Hunting, and Agriculture. In a March 20 letter to delegates of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO), a ministry official states the reported catch at Greenland in 2018 was 40.3 tonnes, or approximately 12,100 large, wild Atlantic salmon.
Conservationists on Wednesday heralded the announcement that Greenland’s commercial catch of wild Atlantic salmon had hit a 13-year low and suggested that harvest could mean better returns on North American rivers where the fish spawn.
The New Brunswick-based Atlantic Salmon Federation said, citing the Greenland Fishery License Control Authority, that fewer than 18 metric tons were harvested off Greenland in 2018. That total is equal to about 5,270 fish and is the lowest catch on record since 2005, when an earlier conservation agreement was in place.
Iceland’s famously pristine waters and marine life, among them wild salmon stocks, are at risk from open net pen farming.
“This is Iceland’s national treasure, its legacy to future generations. People from all over the world escape to this remote, untouched island to experience its unspoilt nature, myself included. It would be tragic if the country went the way of Norway and Scotland, which have both seen incredible environmental devastation from salmon farms,” says Chad Pike, Chair of NASF US. “I call this type of farming ‘uncontained aquaculture’ because open nets allowing tons of raw waste, chemical-laced feed, and disease to flow out of high-density pens into the open waters around them.”
Help us spread the word: #AgainstTheCurrent is fighting to protect Iceland from uncontained aquaculture, a dirty and environmentally devastating form of fish farming.
Iceland’s Parliament is set to consider a bill that would give the world’s largest aquaculture corporations unfettered access to the country’s famously pristine rivers and fjords, with dire consequences for the environment and local aquatic life. But in true Icelandic spirit, environmentalists, business owners, and residents are demanding a stop to the bill, demanding a thorough environmental review and consideration of sustainable alternatives.
#AgainstTheCurrent seeks to reverse the trend of destroying nature to cheaply produce fish.
Tell Iceland’s Parliament to freeze expansion and to support sustainable alternatives. Sign the petition and spread the word!
The Swedish journalist and author, Mikael Frödin, was sentenced by the Alta District Court for having documented conditions at Greig Seafood’s salmon farm in Norway, Altafjorden. Frödin claimed that the act was a journalistic obligation, and that there was no choice but to swim near the cages. “The public must know how the industry affects ecosystems, how bad animal husbandry is and how this food is produced,” says Frödin.
Photo Credit: Neville Crabbe/ASF
The 2018 Lee Wulff Salmon Conservation Award was presented to Chad R. Pike, chair of the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (U.S.), for his key role in negotiating the recently signed agreement to suspend Greenland’s commercial salmon fishery for 12-years. A ceremony was held last night in New York at ASF’s annual Board of Directors dinner. Pictured from left are John Dillon, chair of the Atlantic Salmon Federation (U.S.), Chad Pike, and Bill Taylor, president of the Atlantic Salmon Federation.
Norwegian fish farming company Grieg is suing journalist and author Mikael Frödin for trespassing in 2017 while filming fish farming facilities in the Alta fjord.
Mr. Frödin admits to trespassing, but objects to having committed a criminal act.
“We collected information, and it’s my journalistic obligation to show the public the negative impact of fish farming on ecosystems,” says Frödin.
The film and photo material obtained show diseased and deformed fish, neglected animals, negative ecological impact, and a significant risk for wild salmon stocks.
Fourteen chefs have quit the Icelandic National Culinary Team in protest over a sponsorship deal the National Chef’s Club made with a salmon farming company Arnarlax. The chefs who have quit the team in protest argue that the deal flies in the face of the team’s mission to promote only products of the highest quality, that are produced sustainably, and in full harmony with nature. Arnarlax farms salmon in open pens in the ocean.