s Wild BC Seafood | Farmed Seafood Information | British Columbia - Organic Freezer
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Wild BC Seafood - Why Wild?

Benefits of Wild over Farmed

Salmon farms make up about 80% of salmon on the market today. Thirty percent come from traditional hatcheries, and the remaining 50% are raised in aquaculture or “open pen nets” just off shore. Farms can raise up to a million salmon at a time. The image to the right is a salmon farm.

The farmed salmon are largely confined and fed a steady diet of formulated protein pellets and as a result they are fattier, but not in a good way. Plus, because the farmed fish are fattier, you’ll get less protein per serving.

Perhaps the most worrying side effect of farmed fish is the amount and variety of toxins found in the fish. Pen waters are routinely administered dioxins, PCBs, fire retardants, pesticides (especially for sea lice), antibiotics, copper sulphate (to take care of algae on the nets), and canthaxanthin (a dye associated with retinal damage used to make gray farmed fish various shades of “wild” pink).

As for dioxins, PCBs, and fire retardants, they show up in wild varieties as well, but the concentrations are vastly different. Tests have shown that farmed salmon contains 16 times more cancer-linked PCBs than wild salmon. The reason behind this difference? It’s those nasty little protein pellets – nuggets of mostly mashed fish and fish oil. The intense concentration of toxins from the fish feed builds up in the raised salmon over time – from fish farm to your fish dinner. The farmed salmon are largely confined and fed a steady diet of formulated protein pellets and as a result they are fattier, but not in a good way. Plus, because the farmed fish are fattier, you’ll get less protein per serving. 

Perhaps the most worrying side effect of farmed fish is the amount and variety of toxins found in the fish. Pen waters are routinely administered dioxins, PCBs, fire retardants, pesticides (especially for sea lice), antibiotics, copper sulphate (to take care of algae on the nets), and canthaxanthin (a dye associated with retinal damage used to make gray farmed fish various shades of “wild” pink).

As for dioxins, PCBs, and fire retardants, they show up in wild varieties as well, but the concentrations are vastly different. Tests have shown that farmed salmon contains 16 times more cancer-linked PCBs than wild salmon. The reason behind this difference? It’s those nasty little protein pellets – nuggets of mostly mashed fish and fish oil. The intense concentration of toxins from the fish feed builds up in the raised salmon over time – from fish farm to your fish dinner.

Wild Doesn't Always Mean Wild

The less expensive "wild" options offered in grocery and speciality stores actually spend half their lives in hatcheries before being released. While these quasi-wild fish are a better nutritional deal than fully farmed fish, they still bear the burdens of early exposure to toxins (dioxin, PCBs, etc.) and a less impressive omega 6:3 ratio.

So, what about truly "wild" salmon? Genuine wild salmon only accounts for about 20% at most of the harvest. Some of the reasons it’s so expensive? The flood of farmed fish (and subsequent drop in asking price) has forced many traditional fishermen/women out of business. Add to this scenario the ongoing destruction of wild salmon populations by aquaculture farms, and we all end up paying a premium for the real thing.

Environmental Effects

Because the farm pens are essentially open, the enormous amount of disease- and parasite- (a.k.a. sea lice) laden waste is routinely allowed to contaminate the waters around the farm. Add to this environment the megadoses of pesticide-, toxin-, and antibiotic-laced waste, and the farms create a deadly environment for wild stocks that inhabit the areas. LESS IS MORE Your best bet is to buy less salmon in order to afford the real deal. A smaller wild fillet will give you equal nutrition with fewer toxins. Plus the taste is unsurpassed. There is noting like wild salmon from the outer banks of Haida Gwaii or the Fraser River.