cover image Salmon Wars: The Dark Underbelly of Our Favorite Fish

Salmon Wars: The Dark Underbelly of Our Favorite Fish

Catherine Collins and Douglas Frantz. Holt, $29.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250800-30-5

Erin Brockovich meets Wicked Tuna in this searing exposé from reporters Collins and Frantz (Fallout). Though eating salmon is widely believed to be a responsible and healthy choice, the authors argue that Big Salmon is a powerful industry that prioritizes profits over health—both of the fish and those who consume it. As the authors show, the majority of salmon that reach restaurant or dinner tables are raised in conditions that are harsh, unsanitary, and negatively impact the environment: millions of salmon are reared in cages on massive aquafarms, which pollute underlying seabeds with a layer of slime from “excess feed, chemical residue, and fecal matter” that can reach nearly three feet thick. Scientists, meanwhile, have been trying to sound the alarm about the health risks associated with eating farmed salmon, only to be thwarted by the industry’s “campaign to discredit the criticism.” The authors round things out with suggestions that the USDA, which lacks “standards for what constitutes ‘organic’ salmon,” ought to have some, and should “ramp up oversight.” This stellar investigation is the rare one that has the power to impact policymakers and consumers alike. Agent: David Halpern, Robbins Office. (July)