Farm Raised Salmon Dietary Aspects

Farm Raised Salmon Dietary Aspects


People love to eat salmon, not only for the flavor but also for the health benefits it provides. Having lived in North Pole, Alaska for six years, I too became not only a lover of eating salmon, but catching them too. But most of the salmon on the market today is produced by aquaculture, or farm raised.

So how is farm raised salmon produced and what are the benefits?

Producing Farm Raised Salmon

When I first heard of farm raised salmon, I thought of my youth when I would help my Uncle Fausto raise cotton in central California. Farming of fish is not quite the same as farming cotton. In fact there are two methods for farming fish, one is called extensive aquaculture and the other is called intensive aquaculture.

Basically the difference between the two methods of fish farming is that extensive aquaculture puts the fish in a dam or pond and let the fish find their own food, or essentially, they are on their own.

Intensive aquaculture puts the fish in ponds or places cages in the ocean and then the farmer feeds the fish.

So in the intensive aquaculture the farmer takes a more active role in raising the fish.

Farm raised salmon are farmed by the intensive aquaculture method, which means they need to get their food from the farmer, which comes in the form of fish pellets or in some cases vegetable pellets.

Dietary Benefits

The fish pellets concentrate the toxins found in fish and delivers these toxins to the farmed salmon.

The major concentration of contaminates is PCBs.

Studies have found that PCB levels in farmed fish are ten times higher than in wild Alaskan salmon. Mercury is also a concern in fish, but the good news for farm raised fish is that they have three times less mercury than wild salmon. Taking the total mercury intake from both farmed and wild salmon shows that it is much less than from other foods.

Another aspect of farm raised salmon is that they are not as free to swim as wild salmon, this makes them fatter than their wild salmon cousins. But being fatter does not give you more Omega-3. Being fed fish pellets and some vegetable pellets plus not being able to roam free gives the farm raised fish more fat and less Omega-3 than wild Alaskan salmon.


The only real benefit from eating farm raised fish is that they have less mercury than wild Alaskan salmon. They have more PCBs, more fat, and less Omega-3. So when you go out to buy salmon, your best bet is to buy wild Alaskan salmon.

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