In 1973, pioneering undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau—the David Attenborough of the oceans—wrote: “With earth’s burgeoning human population to feed, we must turn to the sea with understanding and new technology. We must farm it as we have farmed the land.”
Norway was a particularly fertile ground for this imperative since the first floating sea pens to rear salmon had been developed in the country of the fjords already in the late 1960s. Until then, the aquaculture of salmonids had been virtually nonexistent and the global catch of all salmon species amounted to 400.000 tonnes per year. Fish farming changed everything.
In 2018, the total supply of salmon was more than 3 million tonnes, of which 2.36 million were farmed. The relative abundance of this ray-finned fish brought remarkable nutritional benefits to our tables as their pink flesh is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, high quality proteins and B vitamins.
Nutritional benefits aside, salmon aquaculture—which according to the WWF is the fastest-growing food production system in the world—has found itself in increasingly hot water, accused of polluting the waters and endangering wild salmon.