Salmon is a very expensive fish due to its strong nutrition profile, loaded with omega 3 fatty acids.But not all salmon means some are caught wild while others bred in fish farms.Let’s explore the difference between wild and farmed salmon.
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Sourced from Vastly Different Environments
Wild salmon is caught in natural environments such as rivers, lakes and, oceans. But half of the salmon sold worldwide comes from fish farms through breeding which uses a process known as aquaculture. In the past two decades, the annual global population of farmed salmon has increased dramatically from 27,000 to more than 1 million metric tons. While global stocks of wild salmon have halved in just a few decades. The feed of wild salmon and farmed bred salmon is quite different. The wild salmon eat natural organisms that live in their environment but farmed fish are given processed, high fat, high protein feed, to produce larger fish. There is very little difference in the mercury levels between two fishes, wild and farmed fishes. The most surprising fact is, one study shows that salmon had 3 times higher mercury than farmed fish. However, levels of other trace metals like arsenic are higher in farmed salmon while levels of cobalt, copper, and cadmium are higher in wild salmon.
Polyunsaturated Fat Content
Polyunsaturated fats include omega 3s and omega 6 fatty acids. They are essential nutrients of our body due to their important function in our body. But, it is necessary to maintain the balance. Because excess consumption of omega-6 can promote inflammation and also play a role in chronic diseases such as heart diseases. The polyunsaturated fats are 3 times higher in farmed fish than in wild fish.A – 4 week case study of 19 people, who eat farmed salmon twice per week increased their blood levels of omega-3 by 50%
Farmed Salmon May Be Higher in Contaminants
Fish tend to ingest potentially harmful contaminants from the water bodies where they swim in and the foods they eat.A study in 2004 and 2005 reveals that farmed salmon had much higher concentrations of contaminants (PCBs, dioxins and several chlorinated pesticides) than wild salmon. Another study published in 2004 shows that PCB conc. In farmed salmon were 8 times higher than in wild salmon. These contamination levels are proved to be safe by the FDA but not by the US EPA.Still, one study showed that the level of PCBs, in Norwegian, farmed salmon decreased significantly from 1999 to 2011. These changes occur due to the lower levels of PCBs and other contaminants in fish feed.Do you know PCB is the most dangerous pollutant found in salmon, increase the risk of cancer and various health problem.
Mercury and Other Trace Metals
There is very little difference in the mercury levels between two fishes, wild and farmed fishes.The most surprising fact is, one study shows that salmon had 3 times higher mercury than farmed fish.However, levels of other trace metals like arsenic are higher in farmed salmon while levels of cobalt, copper, and cadmium are higher in wild salmon.
Antibiotics in Farmed Fish
Due to the large quantity of fish in aquaculture, farmed fish is generally more susceptible to infections and disease than wild fish. To solve this problem, antibiotics are frequently added to fish feed.The unregulated and irresponsible use of antibiotic in fish farming has been a major health concern for consumers because it has been shown to cause allergic reactions in susceptible individuals.This mostly happens in many developing countries such as China and Nigeria. But fortunately, salmon is generally not farmed in these countries.In recent years, Canada is working on reducing the content of these antibiotics. On the other hand, Chile- the world’s 2nd largest producer of farmed salmon have been suffering from many health issues due to the excessive use of antibiotics.In 2016, an estimate of 530 gm of antibiotics was used for each ton of harvested salmon in Chile. On the other hand, In 2008, Norway used an estimated 1 gram of antibiotics per ton of harvested salmon.