Chef Jon Gibson
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#3 Salmon

Hello again everyone and continuing on with our “Fish 101”, today we will cover the 3rd most consumed fish in the U.S. …Salmon.

I get asked this question almost on a daily basis and that is “which is better, Wild Caught Salmon or Farm Raised?”

This debate has been going on for a few years and both have their pro’s and con’s.

So today, I will throw some information out to you and you can decide.

Wild Salmon – Most of all Wild Salmon are caught in Alaska and Alaska has strict fishery guidelines when it comes to harvesting. However, in recent years it has been a practice of some fisheries in Alaska to ship Salmon to Russia or China for processing and then shipped back to the U.S. which leads to the fish being frozen and thawed several times before it even reaches your plate and you lose the integrity of the product. This is not saying that all wild salmon are processed overseas, but just make sure you read the information and tracking made available on the label.

Farmed Salmon – Recently the new marketing slogans and strategies now say “ocean raised”. Folks it is still farmed raised. The salmon are raised in pens and being they are raised in pens, this doesn’t allow the fish to swim freely or have enough room, which in turn makes the fish susceptible to diseases and therefore fed antibiotics to combat said diseases. Farm raised salmon are fed pellets that are made up of ground fish, yeast, micro algae, and astaxanthin for color. In the picture below you see the salmofan. These swatches are given to salmon farmers so they can match the desired color to the desired price. The darker the color the more money you can get per pound. Farmed salmon meat is gray in color until the introduction of dye pellets into the diet. Farmed salmon also have also been found to have high PCB’s (Polychlorinated Biphenyl) which is a chemical compound of chlorine and has been directly linked to carcinogens in humans.

Farmed or Ocean Raised Salmon:
– Higher Fat Content than Wild Salmon
– Higher Level of Carcinogens
– Higher Level of Omega 6 which leads to inflammation in humans
– Color is achieved with the use of dye pellets

Wild Caught Salmon:
– Alaskan Wild Caught
– Naturally feed on shrimp & krill
– Very rich in Omega 3
– Lower fat content than farm raised
– Natural color

Recently there has been recent strides in raising salmon in a CSA (Closed System Aquaculture) farms and Monterey Bay Aquarium has listed some of those farms as sustainable and good alternative, but there is still the use of feed and dye pellets that are being discussed and the possible harmful effects to the general population.

Monterey Bay Aquarium places Atlantic Salmon farmed in Scotland, Chile, Canada, Norway, Washington (Columbia River), Washington (Puget Sound), and Oregon on the avoid list.

If you would like more information you can download the Monterey Bay Aquarium “Seafood Watch” app.

So, the question again…”Which is better, Wild Caught Salmon or Farm Raised?” I think you have your answer!!!

Remember everyone, read the label and if there isn’t one, ALWAYS ask!





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