The first Atlantic salmon grown entirely on land are now landing on grocery store shelves, marketed as a sustainable alternative to salmon grown in ocean-based net pens.
The land-based Atlantic salmon, branded under the name Kuterra, is being distributed by Albion Fisheries and sold at 140 Safeway stores in B.C. and Alberta.
Atlantic salmon grown in net pens is red-listed by sustainable seafood groups SeaChoice and Ocean Wise for its impact on wild salmon and the use of antibiotics and pesticides in production.
With the help of innovation grants from the federal government and matching funds provided by the conservation foundation Tides Canada and others totalling $9 million, the Namgis First Nation built the Kuterra closed-containment salmon farm near Port McNeill on Vancouver Island. The system — the first of five to be built on the site and the first commercial-scale land-based Atlantic salmon farm in North America — is designed to produce 470 tonnes of salmon annually.
These salmon grew to full size in only a year with savings of about 30% in feed without any use of chemicals (antibiotics or pesticides).