As a relatively new and growing sustainable solution to food production, salmon ocean farming has been the subject of intensive environmental assessments.
Salmon farming ocean sites occupy a tiny portion of the coastal zone areas in which they are located. Most salmon farm ocean sites are located in remote areas of Maine, Chile and Canada. Salmon farming ocean sites are deliberately selected to minimize environmental, navigational and aesthetic impacts. A rigorous permit approval process ensures these factors are considered. In Maine, for example, more than 15 authorities assess an application over a review period of two years before a site can be established.
Farming ocean sites occupy a small portion of the coastal zone areas in which they are located, but return a significant economic benefit to their respective regions.
The Maine coast boasts 3,800 acres of fishable waters and several hundred miles of shoreline. Salmon pens exist on fewer than .003% of these acres, a fraction of the 1,275 acres occupied by pleasure boat marinas in the state.
The Maine aquaculture industry accounts for $82 million in direct sales, the majority of which come from salmon ocean farming. Sales per employee are twice the average of all other Maine businesses, and worker compensation surpasses the state average.
Canadian waters dedicated for salmon ocean farming represent less than 0.01% of the total coastal area.
The salmon aquaculture industry in New Brunswick is an integral component of the provincial economy. Production has more than doubled in the past four years, contributing to substantial employment growth in the processing sector. Full-time jobs in the same period have increased by one-third.
Chilean salmon ocean farms occupy less than one out of every 50,000 acres, or below 0.002%, of available area.
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