Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2019

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Environmental Studies


John Van Buren


In this report, I explore the historical, climatological, economic, and ethical issues created by the contemporary industrial salmon farming practices off Pacific coast of the United States and Canada. Chapter 1 utilizes a variety of sources from Stephen Hume’s A Stain upon the Sea to Miller’s Living in the Environment, to examine the integral part salmon plays in both freshwater and marine ecosystems, the ecosystem services salmon contribute in wild and farmed settings, and the trends in salmon consumption around the world. Chapter 2 examines the historically relevant role salmon held among indigenous societies and how that role has changed in the 21st century as the market for salmon transcends traditional cultural importance. Chapter 3 reports on the climatological changes to the ocean that affect salmon, both farmed and wild, and the environmental chemistry effects of concentrated net-pens, both on the salmon and the surrounding habitats. Chapter 4 examines the economics involved with industrial scale salmon farming including its hidden costs, in comparison to the historic economic model for fisheries. Chapter 5 analyzes the ethical implications of farming Atlantic salmon, a carnivorous fish, for human consumption using a variety of philosophical perspectives. Finally, chapter 6 offers on overview of current policies regarding salmon aquaculture and makes recommendations to ensure a holistic and sustainable practice of salmon farming for future generations, so fish and people thrive.