- Scotland, Canada, Chile, Faroe Islands, Norway & New Zealand in Firing Line
New U.S. rules protecting marine mammals could cost trigger-happy salmon farmers around the world a staggering $2 billion in lost export markets for farmed salmon!
In emails to the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture, the U.S. Government has confirmed that salmon farms in Maine and Washington do NOT kill marine mammals  - in stark contrast to lethal salmon farms in Scotland, Canada, Chile, Faroe Islands, New Zealand and Australia (with question marks hanging over Norway and Ireland).
In order to comply with U.S. standards (i.e. zero marine mammals killed), farmed salmon sourced from salmon farms which kills seals, sea lions, dolphins and even whales will be banned from the lucrative U.S. market by 1 January 2022 (when the Fish and Fish Product Import Provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act is enforced).
"Salmon farmers around the world are caught in the cross-hairs of the new U.S. import rules and have a $2 billion bullet pointed at their head," said Don Staniford, Director of the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture. "A 'comparability finding' with the U.S. salmon farming industry effectively means zero seals, sea lions or other marine mammals killed. In view of the damning data from Scotland and Canada there is currently zero chance of Scottish or Canadian farmed salmon being allowed into the U.S. market with black marks hanging over farmed salmon from Chile, New Zealand, Australia, the Faroe Islands, Ireland and Norway."
"Salmon farmers could get to zero in a flash," continued Staniford. "Simply stop shooting and start installing predator nets as they use in the United States. Until salmon farmers bite the bullet and stop slaughtering marine mammals consumers should boycott cheap and nasty farmed salmon. Supermarkets should not wait for the U.S. rules to hit in 2022 - they should force salmon farmers to introduce a cease-fire immediately. A zero tolerance for cruelty to marine mammals means a zero tolerance for farmed salmon!"
According to the USDA, the value of U.S. imports of Atlantic salmon in 2015 was over $2 billion - with Chile exporting 284,643 tonnes worth $1.1 billion; Canada exporting 177,550 tonnes worth $504 million; Norway exporting 82,114 tonnes worth $330 million; the U.K. exporting 27,232 tonnes worth $96 million and the Faroe Islands exporting 27,215 tonnes worth $84 million (download data in full via Aquaculture Trade - Recent years and top countries).
According to the USDA during 2015, Ireland exported $2.5 million worth of Atlantic salmon with New Zealand exporting $3.5 million (Australia exported Atlantic salmon worth only $2,000). Germany (which does not farm salmon but processes farmed salmon from Norway) exported Atlantic salmon worth $40 million; Iceland exported $12 million and China exported $5.4 million (download data in full via Aquaculture Trade - All years and all countries).
The new U.S. rule published last month explicitly states that salmon farms must stop killing marine mammals in order to export to the United States. Importing countries will have a five-year interim exemption period (starting on 1 January 2017) to implement a regulatory program that "prohibits the intentional killing or serious injury of marine mammals in all fisheries" and "must demonstrate they have a regulatory program for reducing marine mammal incidental mortality and serious injury that is comparable in effectiveness to U.S. standards" .
"The regulatory definition of a commercial fishing operation includes aquaculture, and National Marine Fisheries Service will classify foreign aquaculture operations considering both intentional and incidental mortality and serious injury according to the requirements of this rule," stated the U.S. Federal Register on 15 August 2016. "When making comparability finding determinations for farmed salmon imports, the National Marine Fisheries Service will evaluate measures to reduce interactions, prohibit intentional, and reduce incidental mortality and serious injury of marine mammals in foreign aquaculture operations as compared to the U.S. standards for aquaculture facilities (e.g., use of predator nets and the prohibition on intentional killing)."
In view of the confirmation by the U.S. Government that zero marine mammals are killed on salmon farms in the United States , nations killing marine mammals will be denied a "comparability finding". "Fish and fish products from fisheries that fail to receive a comparability finding may not be imported into the United States," stated the U.S. Federal Register. "If the Assistant Administrator denies or terminates a comparability finding for a fishery, the Assistant Administrator, in cooperation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Homeland Security, will identify and prohibit the importation of fish and fish products into the United States from the harvesting nation caught or harvested in that fishery."
The Sunday Herald in Scotland reported (11 September 2016):
Read more via "Scottish salmon exports at risk if seals keep being shot"
Credit must go to animal welfare and environmental groups who have been pushing for a U.S. ban for over a decade. The Federal Register's Fish and Fish Product Import Provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (15 August 2016) states under 'Petition to Ban Imports':
Read correspondence with the U.S. Department of Commerce since 2011 online here and read more background via .
Download press release in full (with notes and global backgrounder) online here