Wild salmon or Farmed Salmon – what’s the difference?

Here are some of the frequently asked questions;

What is salmon aquaculture?
Salmon aquaculture, also known as salmon “farming”, is the industrial mass production of salmon. Farmed salmon are raised in net cages – floating feedlots. These are pens made of nets located directly in the ocean.

Is farmed salmon healthy?
Increasingly, people are turning to salmon for a healthier diet. However, much of the salmon available on the market, comes from fish farms, not from the wild. The groundbreaking study A Global Assessment of Organic Contaminants in Farmed vs. Wild Salmon: Geographical Differences and Health Risks released January 2004 in the respected journal Science, found in most cases that consuming more than one serving of farmed salmon per month could pose unacceptable cancer risks, according to United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for determining safe fish consumption levels. Farmed salmon contain higher levels of PCBs and dioxins than wild salmon. To learn more about the health concerns associated with farmed salmon, click here.

Is farmed salmon good for the environment?
There are presently over 85 open net cage fish farms currently operating in the coastal waters of British Columbia producing waste that is roughly equivalent to the raw sewage from a city of 500,000 inhabitants. Read more about the environmental impacts of salmon farming.

Am I eating farmed salmon?
There are virtually no commercial Atlantic salmon fisheries in the world. Therefore if you are eating Atlantic salmon, it is farmed. Although most farms around the world raise Atlantic salmon, in British Columbia there are a few farms that raise chinook and coho.
Retailers and restaurants often advertise fresh salmon, but this often means fresh from the farm, not the ocean.
To be sure, ask your restaurant or retailer if the salmon is farmed or wild.

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