Many people will agree that salmon is one of the best fish around. With its rich buttery taste, this fish is healthy and versatile for any delicious meal.
We’ve been catching and eating salmon for centuries. Over the years, salmon has become one of the most popular fish in an American’s diet. Due to its high demand, suppliers have also started raising salmon on farms.
So what’s the difference between wild-caught salmon and farm-raised salmon? Is one better for you than the other?
What’s the Difference Between Wild-Caught Salmon and Farm-Raised Salmon?
Fishermen catch wild-caught salmon in natural environments, like rivers, lakes and the ocean. Their diet mainly consists of algae, shrimp and plankton. These fish are usually flash-frozen on the boat before being shipped to suppliers.
On the other hand, farm-raised salmon breed in tanks or freshwater enclosures. These fish feed on plants, grains and fishmeal. Farm-raised salmon can be bigger than wild-caught salmon due to their altered diet. Antibiotics are also fed to farm-raised salmon to prevent disease and infections.
Most farm-raised salmon is Atlantic salmon, while wild-caught salmon is Pacific salmon. Be cautious if you notice your wild-caught fish is of the Atlantic breed. Atlantic salmon is protected on the endangered species list.
Which Salmon is Healthier?
There’s no doubt that salmon is an excellent addition to any diet. With tons of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, this fish can improve your heart and brain health. However, the exact nutritional difference between wild-caught and farm-raised salmon relates to their diet and habitat.
Due to their manufactured meal of grains and fishmeal, farm-raised salmon can have more omega-3 fatty acids. However, this type of fish also has more saturated fat due to its altered diet.
Wild-caught salmon commonly have fewer calories and less fat than their farm-raised counterparts. They also have more vitamins and minerals due to their all-natural diet.
Many people hesitate when it comes to antibiotics in a farm-raised salmon’s diet. Although this method prevents infections in the fish, these antibiotics can also enter your own body. The FDA mentions this process is safe for human consumption, but the Cleveland Clinic highlights the concern of antibiotic-resistant bacteria forming in the human body.
What about Contaminants?
Potential contaminants are an ongoing debate in the wild-caught salmon versus farm-raised salmon debate. Although research has shown that both types of salmon can contract these contaminants, farm-raised salmon are more at risk than wild-caught salmon. This stems from the tight density of these fish in tanks and farming enclosures.
WebMD mentions possible traces of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in farm-raised salmon. These pollutants can lead to obesity and diabetes. Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) is one of the most common POPs found in salmon, and it’s five to ten times higher in farm-raised than wild-caught salmon.
Global Salmon Initiative reassures that salmon is one of the safest fish to eat with its low mercury exposure. Wild-caught salmon and farm-raised salmon are excellent sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy diet.
Although salmon is one of the safest fish to eat, dietitians suggest that the best way to steer clear of any potential contaminants is to remove the skin before cooking.
Fresh, wild-caught salmon naturally have a light pink or red color to their flesh. This quality comes from their diet of shrimp and plankton. Due to the differences in farm-raised salmon’s diet, their flesh appears grayer in color. Suppliers will often feed farm-raised salmon synthetic chemicals to achieve the beautiful pink color. This method could lead to unhealthy long-term effects on your body.
Is Wild-Caught Salmon or Farm-Raised Salmon Better?
Salmon is one of the best fish to include in your diet. With its incredible health benefits and delicious taste, you can eat salmon twice a week for a well-balanced meal.
However, research has shown that wild-caught salmon has more benefits and fewer risks than farm-raised salmon. With its all-natural diet, wild-caught salmon is antibiotic-free and has a lower exposure to contaminants. This fish is clearly superior between the two.Our salmon collection features some of the best quality fish if you’re looking for fresh, wild-caught seafood. At Tonight We Dine, our seafood is sourced from ethical suppliers and flash-frozen on the boat for ultimate freshness. Our premium seafood collection guarantees a fresh, sustainable and high-quality meal on your table.