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Wild Salmon Vs. Farm-raised Salmon

Wild Salmon Vs. Farm-raised Salmon

Which one do you think is better, wild or farm-raised salmon? If you think that it doesn't matter, then think again. The following article will give you more information about both these varieties.
Aakash Singh
While ordering and eating a scrumptious meal in a restaurant, most of us will not be bothered about which type of meat or vegetable we are eating, or from where they have been procured. As long as the dish tastes good and smells fresh, we are happy. But then, there are a few people who are extremely conscious and would like to know everything about their meal. Is there a major difference between a wild and farm-raised salmon? This article enlists and highlights some of the key differences between them.


Nothing would be more overwhelming than getting your catch at home (only if you're lucky to get one), and serving it for the meal. Well, I haven't been lucky enough, most of the time. But then for people who do not indulge in fishing, they have got no option but to get one from the fish shop.

Nutritional Differences
Well, to let you know about the nutritional facts, it's good to know that wild fish are superior to the farm-raised fish, both nutritionally and environmentally. Farm fish have more fat, but then when it comes to the beneficial omega-3 essential fatty acids, they are not able to provide enough as compared to the wild fish. Farmed ones are given antibiotics and pesticides, because of the environment in which they are raised. They are exposed to more of concentrated pesticides. In addition to this, to make them look more appetizing as compared to the wild ones, their feed is mixed with a colored dye.

As far as the nutritional differences are concerned, again the wild variety beats the farmed ones. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) statistics have shown that, farmed ones have 30-35% of fat by weight. The wild ones have almost 20% more proteins than the farmed varieties. And also the calories, the wild varietal has 20% lesser fat content as compared to the farmed ones. Hence, the former gets more points for the difference in nutrition.

Health Risks
As mentioned before, farmed fish are exposed to pesticides and antibiotics. The reason is simple. In open oceans and rivers, the amount of parasites and diseases are scattered and exist relatively in lesser numbers. However, in contrast, farm fishing does not involve boundary-less farming. Of course, they do get a limited area to farm the fish in. Hence, to keep various diseases away, they have to make use of pesticides and other substances. Now, the level of these will be concentrated, because it is being put into a small pond or area where the fish are farmed. In most of the aqua farms, fish are given feeds which are mixed with an artificial color-inducing substance, to make their flesh look more pink, just like the wild ones. It has now been found out that excess of chemicals in those substances may be harmful for human consumption.

A study revealed that farmed fish contained higher quantities of cancer-causing carcinogenic chemical, known as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). They are in higher concentration in fish feeds of farmed salmon. The PCBs have been banned in the U.S., but still they are found in the environment, especially in animal fat. As far as health risks are concerned between wild and farm-raised ones, the former are less harmful.

Environmental Issues
Apart from these, aqua farm pollutes the environment too. The uneaten fish feed and wastes accumulate at the bottom of the water bed, which lets bacteria throng on them. They happen to consume a relatively higher amount of oxygen which is required by the other fish in the water. The farmed fish are also a threat to wild salmons and that is because the sea lice from fish farms happens to kill them, and most of the time their young ones, which move around the farms during migration season or otherwise.

If one had to choose between the two, after knowing all about it, I think it would be wise to eat the wild variety. But then, because of the extensive fish farming being done all over, the natural habitats of these fish are getting depleted. Hence, there is a need to conserve their habitat and to increase their population.