Wild Sockeye Salmon

Salmon is one of the healthiest fish available today and is for good reason. It is rich in various nutrients that are hard to find in most foods. On the other end, there have been many reports as to the dangers of consuming salmon due to its high levels of mercury and PCBs. Much of the confusion comes with the differences between wild and farm-raised salmon. As you will see, wild salmon are superior nutritionally and environmentally.


Salmon is low in saturated fats and calories, contains high levels of protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are consider essential because our body cannot naturally produce them, but can be founds in foods like salmon. It also an extremely good source in other nutrients including selenium, niacin and vitamin B12 along with being a good source in many other vitamins and minerals. Wild salmon is far more nutritious in terms of fat and protein content. Wild fish contain 20% more protein, 20% less fat and are in general much smaller. Even being fattier, farmed raised contain much less usable omega-3 fatty acids and and contain higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids. The lower the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. Wild fish in general contain a much more favorable ratio of omega-3′s to omega-6. 


Polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs are a class of organic compounds that are highly toxic. Even back in the 1930′s they discovered just how dangerous it was and several papers were published on it before being banned in the 1970′s. PCBs were used as coolants and insulating fluids for transformers and capacitors, plasticizers in paints and cements and a stabilizing additives in flexible PVC coatings. Consuming PCBs has even been linked with causing cancer. Even though they have been outlawed, they are still present in our environment, especially in our waters. Salmon are carnivorous and eat many small fish that contain high levels of PCBs. The levels of PCBs in farmed-raised were 8 times higher than found in wild caught salmon. That is huge considering how dangerous it is to our health.


Salmon are generally colored either in either orange, red and occasionally white. They are actually naturally white and only get their coloration from the food they eat that includes krill and small shellfish. Because white salmon would not be as popular, farmed salmon are actually given chemicals to turn their flesh these colors. On top of not being healthy for the fish and humans, it also makes it harder to shop for them.

Disease and Contaminants

All salmon contain slight amounts of parasites and some even contain disease, but not at the same levels compared to farmed-raised. Seeing that they are held in giants nets in the ocean, it’s no surprise that aquaculture of salmon contain more disease. They are also given tons of antibiotics to fight off the diseases that they could be carrying in these closed spaces. It’s scary to think that we have no idea what kind of antibiotics or pesticides are in these farmed fish.


I previously discussed the aquaculture farming of fish and it’s various environmental impacts. With so many fish packed together in a net in the ocean, there are bound to be negative impacts to the environment. Excess waste from these fish reduce the amount of oxygen in the water and hurt the nearby ecosystem. Also, whenever farmed fish escape from their nets, they can spread disease and lice that are normally not seen in wild fish. This can really hurt the wild populations by making it harder for young salmon to survive to adulthood.


If you were to try both farmed and wild salmon, you would notice the difference immediately. I have had both and I can say that there is no comparison. If you are currently eating farmed salmon or are not sure what type you buy, try wild and you will not be disappointed.