Verlasso, the world's first provider of harmoniously raised fish from Patagonia, has completed its work with Det Norske Veritas (DNV), an independent foundation dedicated to safeguarding the environment, receiving certification for sustainable aquaculture practices at its second salmon farm in La Lanca, Patagonia. DNV validated Verlasso's differentiating and dramatically reduced 1:1 "fish in, fish out" ratio for fish oil and fish meal and low average pen density of 12 kilos per metric ton. DNV certified Verlasso's first farm, Quilque Sur, against the same criteria in November 2011.
"Fish in, fish out" is a ratio of the pounds of feeder fish used to produce an equivalent amount of salmon. The average "fish in, fish out" ratio across all salmon growers is about four pounds of feeder fish to produce one pound of salmon. Verlasso currently uses one pound of feeder fish to produce one pound of salmon. Their calculation is guided by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council's salmon standards created during the World Wildlife Fund's Salmon Aquaculture Dialogues. The La Lanca and Quilque Sur DNV certifications for "fish in, fish out" confirm Verlasso's approach and practice for achieving a 1:1 ratio for both fish oil and fish meal are authentic.
"We've achieved a 1:1 'fish in, fish out' ratio for both fish meal and fish oil," said Scott Nichols, director of Verlasso. "Because we've replaced omega-3-containing fish oil in our salmon's diet with omega-3-producing yeast, we've reduced our dependence on wild feeder fish by fully 75 percent while keeping the omega-3 content for consumers high. This is part of what we mean when we say Verlasso salmon are raised in harmony with the earth's natural environment, which includes protecting feeder fish stocks and wild fisheries."
Most farmed salmon's omega-3-rich diets come from fish oil provided by feeder fish that are captured and processed into fish oil and fish meal. While many salmon farmers are able to achieve a 1:1 "fish in, fish out" ratio for fish meal, achieving a 1:1 ratio for fish oil is far more difficult since reducing or replacing the fish oil in salmon's diets compromises their health and reduces their omega-3 content for consumers. Verlasso has achieved the industry's first certified 1:1 "fish in, fish out" ratio for both fish oil and fish meal without compromising omega-3s through its omega-3-producing yeast.
DNV also certified Verlasso's low pen density, which measures four fish per ton of water. Verlasso stocks its pens at approximately 12 kilos per metric ton, below Chile's national regulation of 17 kilos per metric ton and Norway's 25 kilos per metric ton, giving Verlasso salmon an ample amount of space to swim, helping the fish stay healthier and reducing the amount of waste released into the ocean. This confirmed low pen density is another reason Verlasso salmon are called harmoniously raised.
"We've welcomed DNV's independent review and assessment of our 'fish in, fish out' ratio for fish meal and fish oil, and low pen densities," said Nichols. "We know retailers, distributors and sustainability-minded consumers want transparency and proof behind a grower's claims, so they can feel confident about what they're buying. We're pleased Verlasso is able to better deliver on its sustainability promises with the DNV-certification of our La Lanca farm."
Verlasso continues to lead the industry in best practices, changing the landscape of salmon farming and developing a product for consumers who care about how their food is raised and where it comes from. Neither wild nor traditionally farmed, Verlasso's innovative, harmoniously raised approach to farming produces a high-quality, great-tasting salmon that promotes a strong balance between consumers' health and nutritional needs and the needs of the environment.