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Media opportunity: New Dalhousie University report suggests most Canadians enjoy salmon, but are misinformed about methods of production and concerned about price
A new report by researchers at Dalhousie University suggests a majority of Canadians enjoy eating salmon, but roughly half are misinformed about the various methods used to cultivate the species.
The Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, in partnership with Caddle, surveyed 10,000 Canadians in June 2021 to better understand how people perceive salmon production methods, how often they eat it and if they prefer certain species.
The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2022 the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture and, as the federal government considers phasing out open ocean pens for salmon production in British Columbia, researchers wanted to get a better sense of how much Canadians know about salmon production and consumption choices.
Of those surveyed, 79 per cent of Canadians said they eat salmon, with 10 per cent eating it weekly. Fifty-four per cent believe that aquaculture is a sustainable way to harvest salmon in Canada.
When assessing people’s perception of salmon and two main production methods -- oceans pens and land-based farms -- Canadians appear to support ocean-farm production, in which salmon are hatched in tanks on land and then moved into pens in the ocean where they grow to about three kilograms.
Dr. Stefanie Colombo, lead researcher for the project and Canada Research Chair in Aquaculture Nutrition at Dalhousie, says the results also suggest that 50 per cent of respondents appear to misunderstand the differences between ocean and land-based farms, with the latter involving the rearing of salmon entirely in tanks on land.
The findings come after the federal government announced last year that there would be a transition away from open net-pen farms in coastal B.C. waters by 2025, sparking debate over whether that could limit opportunities for the sustainable use of appropriate coastal areas for food production.
Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie, also participated in the research and says a move to more land-based farms could potentially make salmon less affordable in the immediate future.
Both Dr. Colombo and Dr. Sylvain are available to discuss their survey and results that reveal the demographics of who is eating salmon, where they live and whether personal income plays a role in their consumption habits.
Research Associate, Agri-Food Analytics Lab
Director, Agri-Food Analytics Lab
Senior Research Reporter
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