2004 Photo Contest, Nature, 1st prize

Paul Nicklen

National Geographic

21 October, 2002

Fishermen on the Restigouche River. As wild Atlantic salmon populations falter, salmon farming is on the increase globally, with over 274 million farmed fish present in the world's waters. Pound for pound, more pesticides and antibiotics are used in this than in any other livestock industry, having an impact on both human health and the environment. The waste from a large farm can be equivalent to a town with a population of 50,000 dumping sewage directly into the sea. Diseases and sea lice transfer quickly between fish packed tightly in pens, and many farmed salmon escape into the wild, spreading infection. It is estimated that over 500,000 farmed salmon escape each year in Norway alone. They breed in the wild, ultimately lowering the gene pool of wild salmon. In the US, Atlantic salmon is listed as critically endangered.

About the photographer

Paul Nicklen

As a young boy, Paul Nicklen, a Canadian-born polar specialist and marine biologist, moved to Baffin Island and spent his childhood among the Inuit people. From them he learned t...

This image is collected in