Martin Rowson’s cartoon version of the government’s food strategy for England (13 June) accurately portrays it as a dog’s dinner. The strategy’s emphasis on “innovations in aquaculture” to “boost production in the seafood sector without adding to pressure on fish stocks” is perhaps its most unpalatable ingredient. With details scant, one can only assume that the government is referring to the production of farmed salmon, the UK’s largest seafood export by value by far.
Extensive research shows that millions of tonnes of wild-caught fish are wasted globally as fish feed every year. Most of the valuable micronutrients available in these “feed fish” are lost when fed to farmed salmon. Often sourced from global south countries, the fish used to feed salmon are robbing vulnerable populations of their food and livelihoods.
One would be hard-pressed to find a less suitable proposal to support the purported aim of the food strategy – a “resilient, healthier, and more sustainable food system that is affordable to all” – than boosting the UK’s salmon aquaculture industry.