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Patagonia Launches Film Denouncing Salmon Farming in Iceland

Wild Atlantic salmon are threatened by net-pen farms, but new legislation can save them.

Patagonia Launches Film Denouncing Salmon Farming in Iceland

Laxaþjóð tells the story of a country united by its lands and waters, and the power of the community working to protect nature and the wildlife that has helped forge Iceland's identity. (Photo courtesy of Patagonia)

A powerful new film from Patagonia, called Laxaþjóð – A Salmon Nation (shown below), calls on the government of Iceland to ban open-net-pen Atlantic salmon farms. Such farms pollute the fjords that host them, spread disease and parasites, and create a weaker stock of fish that could interbreed with wild fish.

The 27-minute documentary tells the story of a country united by its lands and waters, and the power of the community working to protect nature and the wildlife that has helped forge the nation’s identity. It will premiere at a public event in Reykjavik and online, as part of an international campaign to raise awareness of the harms caused to wild fish, natural environments and farmed animals by open net pens.

The bellies of diseased Atlantic salmon from Icelandic fish farms.
The farmed salmon in the Icelandic net pens are actually a Norwegian stock that have been selectively bred for size for decades. Escaping individuals can interbreed with Iceland's wild fish that have thousands of years of adaptation to Iceland's rivers, which will “dumb down the genes of the wild fish.” (Photo courtesy of Patagonia)

“Without drastic action, wild salmon faces extinction,” Yvon Chouinard, Founder of Patagonia, said. “That’s why I am dead serious about ending the destructive practice of open net fish farming, before it’s too late. We have made every mistake in industrial farming on land and now we’re making the same disastrous mistakes with farming fish.”

“As a fly fisherman, I have seen first-hand the way that Icelandic waters are dying more quickly than I could ever have imagined. Now Iceland has the chance to show the world that the damage can be reversed with a ban on open net fish farming.”

The salmon in the Icelandic net pens are actually Norwegian fish that have been selectively bred for size for decades. Escaping individuals can interbreed with the wild fish that have thousands of years of adaptation to these rivers, which will “dumb down the genes of the wild fish.”

A group of Icelanders protesting salmon farming.
But there is hope, as new legislation in Iceland is proposing to ban open net pen fish farms. (Photo courtesy of Patagonia)

“Our nature is dying,” says historian Dalrún Kaldakvísl in the film.

But there is hope, as new legislation in Iceland is proposing to ban open net pen fish farms.

Patagonia, which has a long-standing commitment to protecting wild rivers and their biodiversity, has formally called on the Icelandic government to ban open-net salmon farming.

Learn more and sign a petition in support of banning open-net-pen fish farms here. 




Watch the full film below:

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