THREE award-winning chefs have joined a growing group of tastemakers called ‘Off the Table’ by turning away from farmed salmon due to its considerable environmental, sustainability and welfare impacts.

Darren Broom is the head chef at Pythouse Kitchen Garden located close to Tisbury and he has carved out his own food style with a passion for wild ingredients.  

Salisbury Journal: Chef Darren BroomChef Darren Broom (Image: Wild Fish)

Darren said: “Stepping away from farmed salmon, along with other food products that are damaging ecologically, ethically and environmentally has been our mission from the offset.”

The open-net farms are plagued by parasitic sea lice which can also infect and kill sea trout and migrating wild salmon.

Salisbury Journal: Image Corin SmithImage Corin Smith (Image: Corin Smith)

Darren and two other award-winning UK chefs – sustainability champion Tom Hunt and Douglas McMaster, founder of the zero-food waste restaurant Silo joined the campaign to take farmed salmon off the menu.  

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Salmon is a popular dish but the cost to the environment and to fish welfare is high with 1 in 4 farmed salmon not surviving the period of time confined in open-net farms situated along the Scottish west coast and islands.

Recently published data revealed the death toll of fish from January to November 2022 equated to 15 million fish, which is almost 50 per cent more deaths than in 2021.

Salisbury Journal: Image WildFishImage WildFish (Image: Immy O'Keeffe)

Owner of Silo, Douglas McMaster, said: “Salmon farming is a gross negligence against nature. Farming is a disgusting example of profiteering with complete abandon for the natural world and its inhabitants.”

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The Veterinary Medicines Directorate in November 2022 published a report showing that salmon farming is increasing its use of antibiotics with 8.9 tonnes used in 2021.

Dr Matt Palmer, Farmed Salmon Campaigns Manager at WildFish, said: “The eye-wateringly high mortality rates and the industry’s increasing reliance on antibiotics speak volumes – this is an intensive farming industry in which a plethora of diseases are causing serious welfare and environmental issues.

“Fresh seafood should not come at the expense of our planet’s health or animal welfare, which is why we’re calling on chefs and restaurants to take farmed salmon off their menus.”

Off the table led by the UK charity WildFish and supported by a number of NGOs across the whole of the UK and aims to raise awareness of the impact of the intensive open-net salmon farming industry on wild fish and the environment.