Preliminary results from a new study co-authored by Dalhousie University flip the idea of sustainable food on its head.

Organic versus conventional, and wild versus farmed are some of the “sustainability myths” researchers claim to debunk in their look at global salmon consumption.

Researchers from Dalhousie, Ecotrust and the Swedish Institute for Food looked at the entire life cycle of salmon, from birth to the dinner plate.


They found issues like how farmed salmon are fed, how wild salmon are caught and the choice to buy fresh or frozen fish have a larger environmental impact than typical measures.

Broadening the scope lead to some interesting conclusions. For example, regularly eating at restaurants or with friends is substantially better than using the energy to drive to the store alone and eat alone

Frozen fish is better for the environment than fresh fish, according to the study. Frozen fish is typically transported by container ship, while fresh fish are flown in by more environmentally wasteful airplanes.

It concludes that to build a truly sustainable food industry a full range of socioeconomic and environmental costs need to be considered. The researchers’ final report is due in 2010.

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