Salmon, the common name for several fish species in the Salmonidae family, is a key ingredient in many dog and cat food ranges.
Despite the fact that salmon are increasingly farmed, wild salmon are at risk from environmental change and human interference. Their extensive migratory patterns, with them hatching in fresh water, migrating to the ocean, then returning to fresh water to reproduce, means that they are more vulnerable to environmental quality than non-migratory fish. Alarm about the impact of humans and the environment on wild salmon populations, with specific reference to the pet industry, was raised more than a decade ago.1 Salmon are good indicators of ecological health: healthy salmon stocks = healthy rivers and oceans.
International Year of the Salmon (IYS)
IYS is an initiative that was developed and launched by the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC) and the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO). Although it has relevance over several years, 2019 is the focal year of the campaign. Celebrated by fourteen countries in the northern hemisphere, IYS is being marked by a diverse range of awareness-raising events and projects focused on the need for continued attention towards conserving and improving salmon stocks.
International Year of the Salmon
IYS is an international framework for collaborative outreach and research. Countries participating in IYS:
Events and projects include art festivals; con-ferences on scientific, ecological and cultural aspects of salmon; dinners and social occasions; the World Salmon Forum; a photographic challenge; salmon-tracking workshops; and school projects for children.
There are also conservation projects, such as water-course improvements of rivers, catchments and riverbanks to allow fish passage; habitat restoration and enhancement; reintroduction of salmon in certain areas; an urban salmon project; and contributions to scientific journals.
Sustainable ingredient in pet food
The use of salmon is widespread in all kinds of dog and cat food. This involves a variety of salmon products, including oil, broth, meat and meal. But how can pet food manufacturers improve sustainability in their use of salmon products?
Extended shelf life
Salmon is an oily fish – one of the best dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids. However, many fatty acids oxidise and go rancid quickly. This is a specific challenge in the use of salmon oil. There are products available such as Frutarom’s SubStar™ formulations that prevent or minimise oxidation of the fatty acids in salmon oil, extend shelf life and improve product quality. These can help enhance the sustainability of pet food products containing salmon oil.
Use sustainably bred, farmed salmon
Salmon farming now utilises cutting-edge technologies in genetics and fish farming. Through genetic advances, salmon breeders focus on improving survivability, growth and health. The latest fish farming innovations include automatic feeders, water reuse and treatment systems, thermal control of water and photoperiodic control. Therefore salmon breeders can offer eggs to salmon growers that enable them to continue sustainably, all year round.
Support sustainable initiatives
What else can you do to enhance sustainability?
- Support IYS. For more information, visit: yearofthesalmon.org.
- Contribute to national and international discussion and forums on sustainability in
- salmon products.
- Increase consumer awareness of sustainable salmon options in pet food.
- Consider using alternatives to salmon, for example other oily fish.
- Consider using other fish products, for example bycatch.
There are many ways to enhance sustainability in the use of salmon in pet food. With IYS now here, what better time to integrate this into your business objectives.
1. ‘Towards understanding the impacts of the pet food industry on world fish and seafood supplies’.
Journal of Agriculture & Environmental Ethics 21 (5): 459-467. October 2008.