Fishy Business- Chinese Rainbow Trout

This week, the Chinese government has announced that rainbow trout can be sold as salmon in China. It was reported in early 2018 that this practice was common in China for years. Rather than criminalizing or at least discouraging this practice, the China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance has legitimized the sale of trout as salmon.

In May, it was reported that one third of fish sold as salmon in China is rainbow trout, imported from Qinghai on the Tibetan plateau.

Credit: Qilai Shen /Bloomberg

In addition to the ethical issues this brings up, the Chinese are concerned about the health ramifications behind the ruling. Trout is a freshwater fish that can be exposed to parasites that salmon, a saltwater fish, may not be. In America, it is common knowledge that freshwater trout must be cooked well done due to the parasites that run into the lakes and rivers that they inhabit. This is very concerning since salmon is often served raw.

The hashtag #RainbowTroutBecomesSalmon has gained some traction on Twitter after trending on the Chinese site Weibo.

China’s interest in salmon has heightened over the past decade. Between 2009 and 2013, Scotland’s salmon exports to China rose by 194080%. It is estimated that China imports over $300 million of salmon each year. Salmon from Norway is even available on Alibaba. These shady practices are taking advantage of the Chinese demand for salmon, and I am personally surprised that the government would allow such a practice.


Owen Knight