FoodReference.com Logo

FoodReference.com   (Since 1999)
 

Food Articles, News & Features Section

Home       Food Articles       Food Trivia       Today in Food History       Recipes       Cooking Tips       Videos       Food Quotes       Who's Who       Food Trivia Quizzes       Crosswords       Food Poems       Cookbooks       Food Posters       Recipe Contests       Culinary Schools       Gourmet Tours       Food Festivals & Shows

  You are here > 

HomeFood ArticlesFish & Seafood >  Salmon, Wild or Farmed

 

CULINARY SCHOOLS &
COOKING CLASSES

From Amateur & Basic Cooking Classes to Professional Chef Training
Over 1,000 schools & classes listed for U.S., Online & Worldwide

Culinary Posters and Food Art

See also: Salmon Facts ; Sockeye Salmon ; Salmon Recipes

SALMON: FARMED vs WILD

 

EarthTalk®
From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What are the differences between farmed versus wild salmon when it comes to human and environmental health?
-- Greg Diamond, Nashville, TN (8/29/10)

Salmon farming, which involves raising salmon in containers placed under water near shore, began in Norway about 50 years ago and has since caught on in the U.S., Ireland, Canada, Chile and the United Kingdom. Due to the large decline in wild fish from overfishing, many experts see the farming of salmon and other fish as the future of the industry. On the flip side, many marine biologists and ocean advocates fear such a future, citing serious health and ecological implications with so-called “aquaculture.”

George Mateljan, founder of Health Valley Foods, says that farmed fish are “far inferior” to their wild counterparts. “Despite being much fattier, farmed fish provide less usable beneficial omega 3 fats than wild fish,” he says. Indeed, U.S. Department of Agriculture research bears out that the fat content of farmed salmon is 30-35 percent by weight while wild salmons’ fat content is some 20 percent lower, though with a protein content about 20 percent higher. And farm-raised fish contain higher amounts of pro-inflammatory omega 6 fats instead of the preponderance of healthier omega 3s found in wild fish.

Salmon Farm
Photo: Sam Beebe, EcoTrust.
Ocean advocates would like to end fish farming and instead put resources into reviving wild fish populations. Pictured: a salmon farming operation in Chile.

“Due to the feedlot conditions of aquafarming, farm-raised fish are doused with antibiotics and exposed to more concentrated pesticides than their wild kin,” reports Mateljan. He adds that farmed salmon are given a salmon-colored dye in their feed “without which their flesh would be an unappetizing grey color.”

Some aquaculture proponents claim that fish farming eases pressure on wild fish populations, but most ocean advocates disagree. To wit, one National Academy of Sciences study found that sea lice from fish farming operations killed up to 95 percent of juvenile wild salmon migrating past them. And two other studies—one in western Canada and the other in England—found that farmed salmon accumulate more cancer-causing PCBs and dioxins than wild salmon due to pesticides circulating in the ocean that get absorbed by the sardines, anchovies and other fish that are ground up as feed for the fish farms. A recent survey of U.S. grocery stores found that farmed salmon typically contains 16 times the PCBs found in wild salmon; other studies in Canada, Ireland and Great Britain reached similar conclusions.

Another problem with fish farms is the liberal use of drugs and antibiotics to control bacterial outbreaks and parasites. These primarily synthetic chemicals spread out into marine ecosystems just from drifting in the water column as well as from fish feces. In addition, millions of farmed fish escape fish farms every year around the world and mix into wild populations, spreading contaminants and disease accordingly.

Ocean advocates would like to end fish farming and instead put resources into reviving wild fish populations. But given the size of the industry, improving conditions would be a start. Noted Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki says that aquaculture operations could use fully enclosed systems that trap waste and do not allow farmed fish to escape into the wild ocean. As for what consumers can do, Suzuki recommends buying only wild-caught salmon and other fish. Whole Foods and other natural foods and high end grocers, as well as concerned restaurants, will stock wild salmon from Alaska and elsewhere.

Earth Talk

CONTACTS: Health Valley Foods, www.healthvalley.com; USDA, www.usda.gov; David Suzuki Foundation, www.davidsuzuki.org 

SEND YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTIONS TO: EarthTalk, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; earthtalk@emagazine.com    Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php. EarthTalk is now a book! Details and order information at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalkbook 
 

TOP 

RELATED ARTICLES

   Fish & Seafood        Asian Carp Become A Major Problem        World Fisheries In Crises        Swai Fish (Pangasius)        Alaskan Wild Black Cod        Amberjack        Aquaculture Production & the Environment        Bighead Carp        Bluefish        Catch Shares Fisheries Management        Catfish, Farm Raised        Caviar From Russia with Love        Caviar: Description & Facts        Cod: British Gold        Cyanide Fishing        Fish Facts & Health Benefits        Fish Farms: Raising Fish on Inland 'Farms'        Fish, Becoming More Expensive by the Day        Fish, Something Fishy Going On Here        Flounder        Grouper        Jellyfish        King Mackerel        King Salmon        Komoci Konbu, Herring Eggs on Kelp        Mackerel, Wild        Mahi-Mahi        Mullet        Pompano        Ocean Fisheries & Overfishing        Salmon, Wild or Farmed        Salmon of Wisdom        Salmon Facts & Types        Salmon, Wild Salmon & Dams        Sockeye Salmon Record Run        Shark        Shark Finning        Smoked Fish        Snapper        Spanish Mackerel        Striped Bass        Sushi Fact Sheet        Swordfish        Tilapia Description & Facts        Tilapia: Grilling Perfect Tilapia        Tilefish        Trout: Fit for a King        Trout In Trouble        Atlantic Bluefin Tuna in Trouble        Tuna on the Grill        Yellowfin Tuna        Whales Still Hunted in 2012  
   Home       About Us & Contact Us       Food Articles       Magazines       Food Links  

Please feel free to link to any pages of FoodReference.com from your website.

For permission to use any of this content please E-mail: james@foodreference.com

All contents are copyright © 1990 - 2014 James T. Ehler and www.FoodReference.com unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved.

You may copy and use portions of this website for non-commercial, personal use only.

Any other use of these materials without prior written authorization is not very nice and violates the copyright.

Please take the time to request permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

POPULAR PAGES

FREE Food & Beverage Publications
An extensive selection of free magazines and other publications for qualified Food, Beverage & Hospitality professionals

Chef with red wine glass
Order Free Food & Kitchen Catalogs