Wild Salmon Movie Contrasts Wild & Farmed Salmon Plus Detailed Info

Wild Salmon Fishing, Alaska. Viking Maid

fishfarmWild salmon fishing vs farmed salmon, Alaska: Very much anti-farmed salmon and some of the views and statements are questionable. But the film has merit showing how a managed fishery works for every one, fish and fishermen. In the years ahead, as technology advances and wild salmon continue to diminish, this debate will get more heated. Right now, Salmon farms in coastal waters are producing fish that get more diseases and thus are fed with Sundsfjord_tank_sept_2012antibiotics, a strike against them. However, new companies like AquaBounty, click here for page on this site, are creating enclosed pristine, environmentally sound facilities that may very well be a successful model for future Salmon farming.

Farm Disease Spillover: One serious problem is that coastal salmon farms, those located on salmon migration routes, is causing wild salmon to get sick because the farms are rife with bacteria, disease and pollution while the farmed salmon are fed antibiotics to keep them healthy. If wild salmon disappear from disease because of salmon farming that would just as tragic as being fished out of existence, maybe worse because humans will continue to consume the unhealthy farmed product. 

To get the many health benefits fish such as
salmon provide, your best bet is to keep it wild.”

wild-vs-farmed-salmon-1Wild Salmon Vs. Farmed Salmon by Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD

Every trip to the grocery store involves dilemmas. Which bread do you buy? Are the chickens that laid these eggs really cage-free?

One of the biggest dilemmas comes at the seafood counter. You know fish such as salmon and trout provide many health benefits and contain lots of omega-3 fatty acids. But you’ve also heard alarming stories about contaminants and risks. What is a shopper to do?

Years of research and education materials have helped consumers, but the debate lingers on. Farmed fish has become more common as the world’s fish stocks have declined — and our demand for tasty fish hasn’t. Do you risk the downsides of farmed fish (contaminants and effects on health) for the perks (source of omega-3 fatty acids, price, availability and, to some, better taste)?

To help you choose, use this detailed look at the health benefits and risks of farmed salmon versus wild salmon.

aquabounty-gm-salmon1. Nutritional content
There are some key nutritional differences between wild and farmed salmon, according to USDA data. A small fillet of wild salmon has 131 fewer calories and half the fat content of the same amount of farmed salmon. And although farmed salmon may have slightly more omega-3 fatty acids, it also has 20.5 percent more saturated fat content — and that’s fat you do not want.

The bottom line: Wild salmon gets the edge for having fewer calories and less saturated fat.

Chum salmon navigating through McNeil River falls, Alaska, USA

2. Risky pollutants
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs for short) sound dangerous. They are. POPs have been linked to several diseases, including type 2 diabetes and obesity. Evidence suggests obesity might be even more of a risk factor for diabetes when POPs are present in your body. And specific types of POPs increase the risk of stroke in women. Why does this matter? Because PCB (one type of POP) levels are five to 10 times higher in farmed fish than in wild fish.

The bottom line: Wild salmon wins here, hands down.

plastic-pollution-23. Cancer-causing chemicals
In the wild vs. farmed debate, this is a tricky issue. Although both offer omega-3 fatty acids, eating large amounts of either type of fish to get their full benefits could expose you to cancer-causing chemicals. These chemicals come from the potentially polluted water fish swim in. That’s why your omega-3 sources need to be broad, with fish as only one piece of the puzzle. However, one study does conclude: “The benefit-risk ratio for carcinogens and noncarcinogens is significantly greater for wild salmon than for farmed salmon.”

The bottom line: Both wild and farmed salmon come with risk if eaten in large quantities. But eaten in moderation, wild salmon is safer.

Torrance Oil Refinery4. Unsafe contaminants
In recent studies contaminants in farmed salmon were generally higher than in wild salmon. Contaminants were below the approved U.S. Food and Drug Administration tolerance levels, but they still exceeded the levels considered safe “for frequent consumption” by the Environmental Protection Agency. Likewise, other research has suggested that children, women of child-bearing age and pregnant women should choose wild salmon — or other sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

The bottom line: Both wild and farmed salmon contain contaminants, but wild salmon has lower levels and is considered safer overall.

5. Concern about antibiotics
This was a big source of debate in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when Chilean salmon imports to Japan had higher antibiotic amounts than allowed under regulations. The concern: Too much exposure to antibiotics could lead to resistance to their effects. Antibiotic use in farmed fish is said to have been reduced, but it is unclear just how much use is still occurring.

The bottom line: Farmed salmon comes with uncertainty about antibiotic use. Wild salmon does not.

Both farmed and wild salmon have nutrients we all need. But it is becoming clearer that the risks associated with farmed fish are higher than concerns about wild fish. If you want to get the many health benefits fish such as salmon provide, your best bet is to keep it wild.

Mandy Oaklander of Prevention.com provides us with a handy guide in a nutritional face-off between Wild and Farmed Salmon, Wild wins 8 to 3 and it gives one the categories to think about for other fish.  

Part 1 of Health Food Face-Off between Wild and Farmed Salmon nutritional values from Mandy Oaklander at Prevention.com

Part 2 of Health Food Face-Off between Wild and Farmed Salmon nutritional values from Mandy Oaklander at Prevention.com