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How to Choose Sustainable Salmon

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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
Replies (31-33):
kaybear123
by Kayla on Jul. 10, 2013 at 1:24 PM

I do not eat salmon.

justahousewife
by Member on Jul. 10, 2013 at 1:27 PM

SO owns a commercial salmon troller so we only eat wild.

mrswillie
by Silver Member on Jul. 10, 2013 at 4:37 PM
I don't eat it.
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