From Scotland to the southern tip of England, British restaurateurs are giving up serving farmed salmon dishes, reports the Guardian. In an interview with the daily, chefs give reasons why “chicken of the sea” is disappearing from their menus.
Salmon meat has become extremely popular among Britons over the last few decades, notes the Guardian. “It used to be a delicacy, now it is ubiquitous. From sandwiches at parties to weddings, smoked at Christmas or simply baked in foil in the middle of the week, salmon is everywhere,” writes the daily. The fish, sometimes referred to in the UK as “chicken of the sea”, is also an important British export. However, as the daily emphasizes, more and more restaurants in the UK are removing farmed salmon from their menus.
Restaurants don’t want to serve salmon. “Poor product”
What makes chefs give up a popular dish? These include environmental and animal welfare issues on farms, including concerns about the use of antibiotics and the fact that salmon are fed large amounts of smaller fish that could be eaten by humans, the Guardian reports. Moreover, salmon farming contributes to the decline of wild salmon populations.
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Lloyd Morse, chef at the Palmerston restaurant in Edinburgh, in an interview with the daily, drew attention to the quality of farmed salmon meat. – I think it’s a very poor product – he said, pointing out that he gave up farmed salmon also because of the declining number of wild salmon. – It’s not about the salmon, but about its production – said George Aykroyd, co-founder and manager of The Lost Kitchen restaurant in Tiverton.
– He’s popular. If you put it on the menu, it will sell, said Chantelle Nicholson, owner of the Apricity restaurant in London. She noted that she decided to remove salmon from the menu when she learned about antibiotics used on farms.
‘Drastic decline’ in Atlantic salmon population
Matt Palmer of WildFish, a charity encouraging restaurants to join the campaign to stop serving salmon, says there has been a “drastic decline” in the UK’s Atlantic salmon population since the 1970s. – Industrial salmon farming is one of the causes of this decline – he adds, pointing to parasitic copepods that accumulate on salmon farms and can infect wild individuals and then cause death.
A report by the Scottish Fish Health Inspectorate, a fish welfare organization, found that the number of deaths on Scottish fish farms in 2022 was 15 million. This is almost twice as much as a year earlier. As the Guardian points out, “rising sea temperatures and micro-jellyfish are believed to be behind an 18 percent decline in farmed salmon this year.”
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