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How to Choose Sustainable Salmon

Posted by on Jul. 5, 2013 at 12:00 AM
  • 33 Replies

Salmon is delicious: not a really "fishy" fish, hearty, buttery, satisfying, and chock full of healthy protein and Omega 3 fatty acids.

But that super-healthy and delicious fish is not healthy for the oceans and for the other fish that swim there when it comes from a fish farm. Yep, unless it's tagged "wild-caught salmon" that fish in your grocery cart is farmed, which carries with it a whole host of environmental problems.

The problem is that farmed salmon use a ton of resources as far as energy and feed. Some salmon farms feed 5 times the amount of fish meal as they yield in fish. That pound of fish on your plate may have taken five pounds of fish to produce!

Also, when fish are farmed in ocean farms, which are separated from the rest of the water by nets, fish can spread disease when they escape. A nasty parasite that's a type of fish lice, which runs rampant in farmed fish, escapes with them and can kill young wild salmon very quickly. It's being blamed as a factor in the collapse of some salmon fisheries.

And because of the pollution generated by fish farms (some of which escapes into the surrounding water as well) the Environmental Defense Council suggests adults keep their consumption of farmed salmon to one serving a month.

There are inland fish farms that are drawing interest for being more sustainable and keeping pollution away from water, but there are not very many of them yet. If you have an actual fishmonger you buy from (hard to find these days) ask them if they know where their farmed salmon is coming from...if it's from an inland farm you might want to give it a try!

The most sustainable choice is Alaskan wild salmon, which is sustainably fished and much more nutritious. It's a little leaner than farmed fish, but richer in Omega 3 fatty acids, and it's much more richly flavored and colored. That pale pink color of farmed salmon comes from supplements in their feed; wild salmon get their color from Mother Nature.

Unfortunately, it's a ton more expensive, more than twice what farmed salmon costs. You can save by buying it now, in season, and also by looking for frozen fillets ... which are actually more sustainable than airlifted fresh fish! And actually, much canned salmon is sustainably-fished Alaskan salmon.

Do you eat salmon? Wild or farmed?

Image ŠIStockPhoto/olgna

by on Jul. 5, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Rhonda on Jul. 5, 2013 at 6:23 AM

I eat wild-caught salmon.

by Sarah on Jul. 5, 2013 at 7:21 AM
I don't eat salmon but we but we buy wild caught
by Bronze Member on Jul. 5, 2013 at 8:33 AM

I try to get the wild as much as possible.  We love it grilled or broiled.

by on Jul. 5, 2013 at 9:19 AM

I don't eat salmon and my DH rarely does, but we have no idea where it came from.  From now on, I'll ask!

by Gold Member on Jul. 5, 2013 at 9:42 AM
I don't eat salmon
by on Jul. 5, 2013 at 10:00 AM

I'm not a fish lover. The only time we ever really have any kind is when DH brings home the stuff he catches.

by Ticia on Jul. 5, 2013 at 10:30 AM

I love salmon.  I usually buy wild caught.

by Bronze Member on Jul. 5, 2013 at 10:34 AM

I like salmon. I'll be more careful about what kind now.

by Bronze Member on Jul. 5, 2013 at 10:52 AM

We dont eat salmon usually but if we do it is wild caught.

by Bronze Member on Jul. 5, 2013 at 11:00 AM

no, i have never had salmon.

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