Global Salmon Initiative (GSI)

Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) is a leadership initiative by global farmed salmon producers, focused on making significant progress towards fully realizing a shared goal of providing a highly sustainable source of healthy protein to feed a growing population, while minimizing our environmental footprint, and continuing to improve our social contribution.

Company details

Business Type:
Service provider
Industry Type:
Market Focus:
Globally (various continents)


The GSI is committed to making significant improvements in terms of industry sustainability and our actions reflect the objectives and principles which define our mission.


Sustainability, transparency and cooperation.


  1. Bring together global farmed salmon producers and other industry stakeholders to strive towards significantly improving the sustainability of salmon farming
  2. Cooperation to continue to outperform other sources of animal protein in terms of contribution to human health, environmental responsibility, and efficient feed conversion rate, and to be widely recognized for this accomplishment
  3. Achieve the highest standards of corporate citizenship in the regions where members operate
  4. Translate environmental and social sustainability into greater economic sustainability through enhanced social license and market acceptance.


The Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) initiative began following a meeting of a small number of CEOs of salmon farming companies from Norway, Chile and Scotland.  The meeting, hosted by Novartis Animal Health, focused on sustainability.  Inspired by the significant progress other industries were making in terms of sustainability the participating CEOs decided to meet again and see if they could work together to encourage industry improvements. As the idea grew, other industry CEOs were invited to join the discussions and it was agreed to form the GSI.

In April 2012, 15 global farmed salmon companies joined together in a commitment to substantial change and signed a Memorandum of Understanding to confirm their commitment.

The GSI recognizes that the global potential of the farmed salmon industry will only be met with significant improvements in sustainability. Immediate challenges were seen to include matters related to biosecurity, sustainability of feed stocks, and the environmental impacts of the industry. As a group it was agreed that this is an area where cooperation and shared ambition could be a game changer for the whole industry. Initial work has already begun to ensure greater transparency and to address industry challenges.

The GSI recognizes that success will only come with cooperation and increased transparency, and is  committed to working with existing initiatives, and in seeking the advice and support of stakeholders as partners in this enterprise.

Salmon farming started on an experimental level in the 1960s, but became an industry in Norway in the 1980s and in Chile in the 1990s.[i]

Approximately 60% of the world’s salmon production is farmed, and in 2011 1,600,000 tonnes of salmon came from farms, while 930,000 tonnes of wild salmon were caught. Atlantic salmon farming has traditionally been dominated by a few producing countries due to several natural conditions that have to be in place for optimal production, including seawater temperature range, a sheltered coast line and certain biological conditions. Most cultured salmon comes from Norway, Chile, Scotland and Canada. Farming takes place in large nets in sheltered quiet waters such as fjords or bays, or in tanks on land.[ii]

With a rapidly growing global population, the world needs sustainable sources of healthy protein. The largest markets for salmon are currently the EU, USA and Japan. The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nation predict growth in the world’s population to reach 9 billion by 2050, with the need for protein expected to grow by 70% worldwide.[iii]

As population increases there will be added pressure on the already over-exploited wild fish reserves. Farmed fish are required to efficiently manage and maintain stock levels in the wild to maintain the oceans natural biodiversity and food chain impacts.

With increasing obesity and decreasing health standards, governments and food and health advisory bodies in Europe and North America are actively encouraging their populations to consume more fish as part of their diet.[iv] Farmed salmon is a good source of protein, vitamin D, A and B12, iodine, antioxidants and essential marineomega-3 fatty acids.[v]

The farmed salmon industry can make a key contribution to balancing the needs of a growing population, and the demand for a healthy and sustainable protein source.