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Is farm raised salmon really that bad?

by (148)
Updated October 22, 2014 at 3:28 AM
Created December 29, 2011 at 6:21 PM

Nutritionally speaking, is farmed salmon that bad? It seems that even the omega 3:6 ratio of farm raised salmon is actually really good (2:1 respectively). I just ask the question because sometimes I really prefer farm raised as far as palatability goes.

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10044 · February 02, 2012 at 5:05 PM

+1 I agree. I avoid farmed salmon as well.

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78422 · December 30, 2011 at 1:53 AM

Add some chipotle peppers and you will liven up your sardines!

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120 · December 29, 2011 at 10:56 PM

+1. And I've been looking for an excuse to eat anchovies. Now if I can find a way to add flavor to sardines that would be great.

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78422 · December 29, 2011 at 10:39 PM

Above quote from http://www.raincoastresearch.org/salmon-farming.htm

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78422 · December 29, 2011 at 10:39 PM

In 1999, 189,000 tons of Chilean whiting was sold to the make fish farm pellets for $12.9 million, when it could have produced $102.9 million if sold for human consumption.

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78422 · December 29, 2011 at 10:39 PM

Salmon are carnivores. No one has successfully farmed a carnivore. A terrestrial equivalent would feed chickens to dogs and eat the dog. The underlying equation in farming carnivores is a net loss in protein, and would not be profitable if full price is paid for the feed. Salmon farming takes two - five pounds of wild fish to produce one pound of farm salmon. This represents a net global protein loss as most of the fish used to make pellets are high quality food fit for human consumption.

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56616 · December 29, 2011 at 9:39 PM

My dad gets his salmon for free from Lake Michigan, but I worry about pollution.

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56616 · December 29, 2011 at 9:38 PM

Is wild salmon really that expensive? I get my weekly supply at Trade Joes for $5.99 a pack. You don't need a TON of DHA, so as far as I'm concerned that's enough for me.

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2417 · December 29, 2011 at 7:26 PM

YES. Farmed salmon may very well destroy the local stocks in my area. Protect the Alaskan salmon, the various runs in the Salish Sea, and elsewhere - and DO NOT SUPPORT such an ecological nightmare.

Medium avatar
5629 · December 29, 2011 at 7:26 PM

mmm...cancer risk increase...mmm

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24271 · December 29, 2011 at 7:12 PM

Well said. I don't touch the stuff. In fact, I recently walked out on a restaurant that touted itself as serving wild caught but something made me ask before ordering and they admitted that at lunch they served farmed salmon. We walked. I give them props for honesty though.

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9812 · December 29, 2011 at 6:25 PM

Great question- I prefer the taste of farmed over sockeye, myself.

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9 Answers

Medium avatar
12
12369 · December 29, 2011 at 7:06 PM

Farmed salmon is destroying the wild salmon stocks on the west coast of North America. There are some on-shore fully contained farms but they are in the minority.

Nutritionally speaking I wouldn't worry so much about the O3:O6 ratio, I would worry about all the crap they add to the feed so that the flesh is red and tasty.

Please don't support farmed salmon.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa
2417 · December 29, 2011 at 7:26 PM

YES. Farmed salmon may very well destroy the local stocks in my area. Protect the Alaskan salmon, the various runs in the Salish Sea, and elsewhere - and DO NOT SUPPORT such an ecological nightmare.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
56616 · December 29, 2011 at 9:38 PM

Is wild salmon really that expensive? I get my weekly supply at Trade Joes for $5.99 a pack. You don't need a TON of DHA, so as far as I'm concerned that's enough for me.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
56616 · December 29, 2011 at 9:39 PM

My dad gets his salmon for free from Lake Michigan, but I worry about pollution.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc
24271 · December 29, 2011 at 7:12 PM

Well said. I don't touch the stuff. In fact, I recently walked out on a restaurant that touted itself as serving wild caught but something made me ask before ordering and they admitted that at lunch they served farmed salmon. We walked. I give them props for honesty though.

6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157
10044 · February 02, 2012 at 5:05 PM

+1 I agree. I avoid farmed salmon as well.

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20519 · December 29, 2011 at 7:28 PM

A few things to think about: six ounces of East Coast Atlantic salmon has more DHA and EPA Omega-3 fatty acids than the same weight of wild salmon. BUT farmed salmon has the highest levels of PCBs - toxic man-made chemicals. So it boils down to that the health benefits of both farmed and wild salmon exceed potential risks due to the Omega 3's. There are some farmed fish produced in environmentally friendly situations but there are aslo those that are getting antibiotics among other things they shouldn't

Nerd alert: Did you know that to produce one farmed salmon, you have to feed it more than its weight in smaller fish? So..

Have you considered eating smaller fish - anchovies, mackerel and sardines? They live shorter lives and don't have as much opportunity as the larger fish to pick up toxics. Also, since they are lower on the food chain, they are a more sustainable choice.

For me? Wild only or the smaller buddies.

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78422 · December 30, 2011 at 1:53 AM

Add some chipotle peppers and you will liven up your sardines!

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120 · December 29, 2011 at 10:56 PM

+1. And I've been looking for an excuse to eat anchovies. Now if I can find a way to add flavor to sardines that would be great.

Medium avatar
5
39841 · December 29, 2011 at 7:14 PM
Medium avatar
5629 · December 29, 2011 at 7:26 PM

mmm...cancer risk increase...mmm

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4306 · December 29, 2011 at 7:52 PM

I try to avoid farmed salmon, which means that I have to trust in the labels on the product.

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17103 · December 29, 2011 at 7:09 PM

Also keep in mind that there's new GMO salmon out now where they've inserted extra growth hormone gene copies. Do you really want to eat fish growth hormones, or the flesh of fish that have been fed GMO soy, GMO corn, antibiotics, and other crap?

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78422 · December 29, 2011 at 10:32 PM

What Bree said. And if you try a taste test with both farmed and wild salmon you should notice the difference in taste and texture which is far superior in the wild fish.

And I don't want to eat recycled chicken feathers.

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78422 · December 29, 2011 at 10:39 PM

Salmon are carnivores. No one has successfully farmed a carnivore. A terrestrial equivalent would feed chickens to dogs and eat the dog. The underlying equation in farming carnivores is a net loss in protein, and would not be profitable if full price is paid for the feed. Salmon farming takes two - five pounds of wild fish to produce one pound of farm salmon. This represents a net global protein loss as most of the fish used to make pellets are high quality food fit for human consumption.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · December 29, 2011 at 10:39 PM

Above quote from http://www.raincoastresearch.org/salmon-farming.htm

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · December 29, 2011 at 10:39 PM

In 1999, 189,000 tons of Chilean whiting was sold to the make fish farm pellets for $12.9 million, when it could have produced $102.9 million if sold for human consumption.

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20353 · December 29, 2011 at 7:41 PM

I can no longer eat farmed salmon. It tastes bad to me.

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3690 · December 29, 2011 at 7:36 PM

We all have to try our best to support wild-caught seafood, analogous to grass-fed/pasture raised animals. If I remember anything from all the Paleo readings/blogs/research, it's food quality first.

Farmed salmon also have the opportunity to escape. One could even say there's technically not even "wild" salmon anymore, due to contamination/pollution from so-called "closed" farm environments.

Do your best though, farmed salmon, in my opinion shouldn't be consumed frequently!

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37187 · December 29, 2011 at 6:37 PM

I think the concerns center around feed-lot-type disease, what they're eating and what they're doing to surrounding environments. Other than that, they're fine. :-))

Mark Sisson approves of at least one brand of farmed salmon

Dr Kurt Harris mentions only non-farmed salmon.

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