Washington, D.C. – In a vote 13 to 1, the U.S. Department of Agricultures National Organic Standards Board voted today to temporarily exclude from U.S. organic standards those fish raised in open net cages and those farmed fish that eat wild fish feed.  The board will reconvene in October, after it receives more comments on the issue.    

“Today, the USDA agreed to hold off on stamping its coveted organics label on those fish raised in open net pens and those farm-raised fish that eat wild fish. The board wants six more months of public input before it moves forward.  Hopefully, this extra time will result in this temporary exclusion becoming permanent.

“In the meantime, the USDA should not allow the sale of imported organic farmed salmon.  Just because Scotland or Norway labels its farmed fish as organic does not mean that that fish would pass the same strict tests here in the States.  

“Consumer confusion over organic farmed salmon is slowly but surely eroding away at the foundations of organic principles.  Swift action must be taken to protect the integrity of the USDA organic label.”

“Any fish raised in an open net pen or fed wild fish for feed can never be organic.   Standards that would label these fish as organic would horribly distort the meaning of the word.” 


The Pure Salmon Campaign is a global project of the National Environmental Trust. It partners with organizations in the United States, Canada, the European Union and Chile all working to improve the way salmon is produced. 

For more information on organics and farmed salmon, go to www.puresalmon.org.