SALMON | WILD VS. FARMED

SALMON are found in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and even in the Great Lakes.  There is only one specie found in the Atlantic ocean.

But the most familiar are found in the Pacific Ocean….such as:

  • Chinook
  • Coho
  • Chum
  • Sockeye
  • Pink
  • Steelhead

Salmon are born in rivers and streams, swim to the ocean to spend most of their lives, then back to the rivers when it’s time to spawn.  They swim upstream and even up waterfalls to return to the exact place they were born themselves.  And the cycle begins all over again……quite amazing!

Each female lays approximately 30,000 eggs when they reach maturity.   After laying their eggs, they deteriorate quickly and eventually die.

SALMON FARMING AND RANCHING

Farming – The salmon are raised in hatcheries and are fed a diet of other wild fish.  It’s surprising to know that salmon eat about 2/3 more fish than the actual number of salmon produced from farming.  That’s a hefty cost to raise them and probably one of the reasons the price is so high.

In studying this topic, many reasons to NOT eat farm raised salmon were shown.

  1. They are also fed a vegetable protein substitute which decreases the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon.
  2. Food is enhanced with hormones to promote growth…ends up in the salmon we serve our families.
  3. They are given antibiotics to prevent disease…then we eat the antibiotic.
  4. The tanks these fish are raised in sometimes are contaminated with raw sewage.  (Especially in other countries.)
  5. If the farm raised salmon don’t have the “pretty pink” color, then other chemicals are used to change the color.

Ranching – This method raises the salmon in hatcheries until they are large enough to be released.  If they are released in the rivers, there’s the possibility of genetically mixing different types of salmon so another options is to release them in the ocean.  Since salmon always return to the same place they were born, they will return to the place they were released.

Ranching salmon is not profitable since the released fish can be caught by anyone.

IS SALMON RAISED IN A HATCHERY SAFE TO EAT?

wild Salmon vs farmed Salmon _ Why Should You Avoid Farmed A

My opinion is NO!  Unless you are sure a hatchery does not feed the salmon antibiotics, drugs to promote growth, and enhance the color, I would stay clear of any farm raised fish.  There are so many reports about sewage contamination in hatcheries in other countries.  The U.S. does have inspection, but one report I read said that they cannot possibly inspect all the fish that come into our country.  And…if you’re reading this from another country, how good are your country’s inspection standards?

The season to get fresh wild salmon is June through September.  I know in my market, I can only get wild salmon around July and August.  But frozen is also good and even canned.  Just make sure the label says “wild” salmon.

And if you’re ordering salmon out in a restaurant, don’t believe it’s wild salmon if it’s not June through September.

SALMON | NUTRITIONAL VALUE

The following list may differ depending on the type of salmon you’re eating.  It is only meant to give you and approximate idea for the nutritional value.

Approximate daily recommendations for 4 oz. of salmon:

  • 250% Vitamin D
  • 100% Vitamin B12
  • 60% Omega-3 fatty acids
  • 60% Selenium
  • 35% Vitamin B3

Vitamin D – Helps with the absorption of calcium, promotes bone strength, and helps improve energy.

Vitamin B12 – Promotes healthy red blood cells and nerve cells.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Reduces cardiovascular risks, may help control depression, anti-inflammatory, may decrease risk for some cancers.

Selenium – Helps with the function of the thyroid, decreases joint inflammation.

Vitamin B3 – (Niacin) Helps to lower cholesterol.

Salmon has some great health benefits and we all should include it in our diets.  If you do, I only recommend “wild” salmon, but it can be fresh, frozen, or canned.  And so many great recipes to enjoy whether it’s a grilled salmon steak, a broiled or pan fried filet, smoked, lox on a bagel, or sushi…..maybe even try the canned salmon salad instead of a tuna salad.

If you want to share any information on wild vs. farmed salmon, or know of a great, healthy hatchery, please leave a comment.

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