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A restaurateur says he wants to put the environment before profits.

Restaurateur refuses to serve farmed salmon

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Plates of sushi are transported on a belt to customers at Kura Sushi restaurant in Tokyo, Japan, June 3, 2021.

Radio-Canada

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The chef of a restaurant sushi restaurant located in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, now refuses to serve farmed salmon

Kevin Vincent, chef and owner of Newfound Sushi, made this decision because he is concerned about the impacts of aquaculture.

The industry faces criticism because farmed salmon often escape from enclosures into the wild, where they mate with native species. Their offspring are less healthy and contribute to the decline of the species, says the Atlantic Salmon Federation.

When farmed salmon escape from the pens — because there are always leaks — they move up rivers and compete for the same food as the wild species with which they mate. It really causes a lot of damage to our marine ecosystem, says restaurateur Kevin Vincent.

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Kevin Vincent is the chef-owner of Newfound Sushi, located in Corner Brook.

He says he has been thinking about this issue for a long time, which has a financial impact on his business. At its busiest times of year, Newfound Sushi serves about 100 pounds (45 kg) of salmon per week, according to its owner.

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Kevin Vincent says he wants to serve food that is sustainably obtained.

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Salmon are typically raised in enclosures like these. (File photo)

He explains that one of his company's mottos is feel good food, that is to say food that makes you feel good. “I don’t feel good about serving farmed Atlantic salmon,” he maintains. It was a big decision, but I put the environment above profits.

In his sushi, sockeye, or wild red salmon, and Arctic char are now replacing farmed Atlantic salmon.

In an interview, Jamie Baker, executive director of the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association, says the restaurant owner's decision is not based on facts.

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Jamie Baker is the executive director of the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association.

He maintains that salmon farming in the province is safe and sustainable.

Chefs always change their menus based on what's important to them, although you rarely see ones seeking that kind of attention, Jamie Baker said. I think it is important to make choices based on legitimate information.

The industry representative also invites the cook to visit a breeding farm to see for himself what is happening there.

According to reports fromAlex Kennedy (CBC) and Kyle Mooney

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