For quite some time, there’s been a movement afoot to get you to buy farmed salmon. They tell you that because they’re farmed, it’s better for the environment. It’s also much less expensive. This is all very cool, don’t you think? The fish are farmed in huge floating net-pens, and you can get a salmon fillet onto your plate for next to nothing. At times, chicken costs more than a salmon fillet. We all win!Or do we?
Left on the farm, the salmon’s flesh is a dull grey; looking nothing like its wild counterpart. So the farmed fish are fed pelleted food with additives that turn the flesh a color roughly approximating that of a wild salmon. Also, due to the close quarters associated with confinement, there are health issues such as bacteria and parasites. Well, that’s why we have antibiotics, right?
Ah, but the parasites are a different kettle of fish entirely….
Just released research is showing that salmon farms may be killing off wild salmon. As this ScienCentral News video explains, the problem is parasites being spread from the farmed salmon to the wild salmon.
It seems clear that salmon farms need to be moved to more benign locations or phased out entirely in order to prevent the morality rate – in some cases as high as 95% – associated with their present locations near wild salmon streams.
In many places, you can buy line-caught salmon from the pacific Northwest. These are the real deal: nonendangered wild fish, not parasite-ridden, food-colored aquacultured pretenders. As a rule, labelling requirements are in place – though still being rolled out in some parts of the USA. Globally, you’re kind of on your own. A good rule of thumb is that if the price is incredibly inexpensive, they’re likely trying to palm off farmed salmon rather than the real thing. Purchasing wild salmon may seem a bit of a price to pay to put food on the table. But they’re high in Omegas, which are good oils, low in cholesterol, and untainted by the food additives routinely provided to farmed fish. It’s ultimately your choice.