A new film from outdoor clothing brand Patagonia attacks the international salmon farming industry, blaming it for reduced natural wild salmon runs, depletion of orca populations and societal issues impacting native North American communities.
The 70-minute film named "Artifishal" is about saving wild salmon, with a focus on the West Coast of the United States, where it claims tens of millions of tax payers' dollars are spent on salmon hatcheries set up to counteract the impact of human intervention on wild salmon stocks.
It also zones in on the indigenous North American population, claiming reduced wild salmon stocks have removed a key source of nutrition, in turn leading to unemployment, alcoholism, drug abuse, depression and suicide.
The final part of the film moves to Norway, where escapes from the aquaculture sector and the genetic impact on wild salmon populations is blamed by local fly fishermen for a reduction in stocks.
Swedish fly fisherman Mikael Frödin is seen swimming in a Grieg salmon cage where he films a couple of fish with open wounds, as well as a malformed fish. His trespassing got him a court trial, which attracted local media attention, justifying, he said, the NOK 12,000 (€1,249/$1,410) fine.
The film from Patagonia is now being rolled out across Europe and is accompanied by a petition against open-cage salmon farming. The petition has collected 70,000 signatures. It is aimed at the authorities in Ireland, Norway, Scotland and Iceland and will eventually be handed over to the EU Parliament.
"The only reason salmon is produced in open cages today is because it is cheaper," Film Director Josh Murphy said in a press briefing before the film was aired in Oslo last week. "Lots of garbage is released right into the wild. If a [agricultural] farmer had released just as much in a river as a salmon farmer releases, he would have been put in prison."
A trailer for the film can be seen here: