Letters : Salmon diet

Last updated 12:27 01/11/2012

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Salmon diet

Ian Rogers [letters, Express, October 25] assumes that salmon diets carry "a hefty carbon footprint". In fact, farmed salmon has a carbon footprint lower than most farmed meat production, and less than half the footprint of New Zealand beef and lamb.

The description of poultry and mammalian byproducts given by Mr Rogers was made by Sustain Our Sounds lawyer Warwick Heal. They were not my statements.

In reality mammalian and poultry meals are innocuous dry brown powders, with a mild cooked meat smell. Coming from animals grown for human consumption, they have very good food safety characteristics and provide excellent nutrition for carnivorous fish such as salmon. Including such byproducts is far more environmentally sustainable than including a lot of wild fish.

Astaxanthin is an essential micronutrient for salmon, as vitamin C is for humans. Salmon have evolved a capacity to store it in their muscle tissue, which results in the fillet colour for which salmon are famous. The astaxanthin we add is synthesised and is identical to that which occurs in nature, like the vitamin C supplements you buy in the supermarket.

Mr Rogers is simply incorrect when he claims Skretting has announced plans to stop using fish oil in our feed - we haven't. Salmon fed our diets contain high levels of Omega-3.

He believes that including avian and mammalian proteins in fish diets is "unnatural" and associates this practice with mad cow disease. But the consumption of avian and mammalian protein by carnivorous fish occurs every day in nature.

Mad cow disease in England resulted from feeding mammalian protein to herbivorous bovines, which, like humans, have a capacity to develop transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) such as BSE. No fish species (wild or otherwise) has ever been found capable of developing any TSE.

BEN WYBOURNE

NZ Technical Account Manager

Skretting Salmon feed

Ian Rogers' letter [Express, October 25] completely misrepresents the efforts NZ King Salmon take to ensure our salmon feed is sustainable.

The feed we use, in terms of nutrient content, replicates the natural diet of wild salmon. The marine protein content in our feed is only 10 per cent fishmeal, which comes from scientifically managed sustainable fisheries. We produce more marine protein than our fish eat.

The feather meal is ground meal, an excellent source of highly digestible protein representing around 5 per cent of the diet. The feed we use is also World Wildlife Fund-approved for use of marine resources in aquaculture feed.

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Astaxanthin, found naturally in algae and krill, is an essential micronutrient for salmon and is so important they have evolved a capacity to store it in their muscle tissue.

It is an antioxidant and salmon use it to preserve their precious Omega-3 oils and ultimately it protects their eggs. Astaxanthin is a member of the carrotenoid family and results in the colour for which salmon are famous.

Because it is such a powerful antioxidant, astaxanthin is also used in other foods for human consumption and is absolutely food safe.

Salmon make the largest single contribution to essential Omega-3s in the New Zealand diet with all their associated health benefits. Any suggestion that there is a link between salmon feed and disease is misleading and incorrect.

We are completely transparent with leading chefs and food writers about our feed and they have no concern whatsoever. Everyone can enjoy king salmon in the knowledge it's absolutely safe and excellent value for dietary needs.

GRANT ROSEWARNE

Chief executive

NZ King Salmon

- The Marlborough Express

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