What is Salmon Ranching?

“Salmon Ranching” can be defined as the “artificial propagation of juvenile salmon for release into ocean basins”.

Salmon ranching may also be referred to as “ocean ranching”.  Others may refer to it as “salmon enhancement”.  

Simply put, salmon ranching refers to a process by which indigenous salmon are initially caught and stripped of eggs and milt. The fertilized eggs are then cultured in a hatchery where they will hatch and begin feeding on a feed powder. Mimicking the natural life cycle of a wild salmon, these salmon are then transported from freshwater hatcheries to saltwater fish farms. The juvenile salmon continued to be cultured in saltwater fish farms using net pens to contain the salmon. While in net pens, salmon are fed feed pellets to gain size and strength. Also, by remaining captive in an area suitable for a future commercial fishery, the salmon are “imprinted” to the area where they are temporarily farmed. Imprinting ensures that these cultured salmon return to the same place where they were “born” – similar to natural, wild salmon. Once large enough to successfully compete with wild salmon for food and space, these cultured salmon are released into the ocean to forage for food (referred to as “ranching”). Depending on the species of salmon (Pink, Chum, Coho, Chinook or Sockeye), they will return to their birthplace in two to four years. Upon return, a mixture of wild and ranched salmon are caught by commercial and sports salmon fisherman. Selected salmon are also retained by the source hatchery to be used again for eggs and milt – thus repeating the process.

Salmon ranching exploded in the mid 1970s

Salmon ranching exploded in the mid 1970s

In 2012, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reported that 127 million salmon were commercially harvested. Of this, 44 million salmon were identified as ocean ranched. Therefore, in 2012, ocean ranched salmon represented over 34% of the commercial catch in Alaska.

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52 Responses to What is Salmon Ranching?

  1. Michael Tim says:

    I love your site! 🙂

  2. Joe says:

    Great site, cool article. I made several calls trying to find out the difference between “Wild” salmon & “Wild Caught” (ranched salmon) before I found your site. Thanks for clearing that up.

    How on earth do commercial & sport fisherman tell tell these two types of salmon apart after catching them together?????????? There must be a way, since packages are labeled so at the grocery store. Is there any nutritional or health advantage of wild over wild caught as there is with wild over farm raised?

    Thanks again, I look forward to hearing from you.
    Joe

    • The Truth About Alaska Salmon says:

      Dear Joe;

      Good questions.
      It is almost impossible to look at the surface of a salmon and distinguish what is truly “wild” and what is “wild caught”. Fin clipping used to be common, but rarely used nowadays. Today there is a much cooler and scientific way of telling the difference. Hatcheries now have a “code” which they can imprint on the ear bone (called “otolith”). By changing water temperatures in early stages of a salmon’s life (each hatchery has a unique mark), the otolith bone is marked (similar to the growth rings of a tree). Although this gives the State a good idea of what percentage of salmon commercially caught is wild or hatchery origin, this information is not used in the market. Therefore all salmon is lumped in together and will be sold as either “wild” or “wild caught”. As for sport fishermen, I really don’t think they care, as long as they’re catching salmon!
      You ask if there is nutrional advantages of wild over wild caught? No difference from the studies I’ve seen, it’s all pretty similar – healthy that is. By the way, we also feel the health benefits are equal between wild, ranched and farmed. Omega 3 levels are similar and contaminant levels in salmon are similar whether it’s wild, ranched or farmed. Don’t be fooled by “studies” that are nothing more than marketing tools. We can back this up with science if you’d like.
      So to be clear, we support aquaculture. This site was designed simply to educate the consumer on the unfair marketing games played by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (not admitting they culture salmon and the tireless attacks on salmon farmers) and to help people decide on what they see as a sustainable way of providing salmon to a growing market.

      • AB Hansen says:

        One part of the above statement is totally untrue. The contaminant levels in farmed salmon, which only eat pellets, are far higher than either wild or ranched salmon. They also feed salmon Slice, an experimental, systemic, sea lice control, that stays in the flesh. Slice will soon be useless, as sea lice are becoming immune to it. Even more toxic chemicals will be used. http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/alexandra_morton/2010/03/dialogue-with-the-fish-farm-regulators.html

      • The Truth About Alaska Salmon says:

        Hi AB Hansen. While there are differences in nutritional and contaminent values in salmon, it has little to do with whether a salmon is farmed, ranched or wild and everything to do with the species and diet.

        Studies have shown Omega 3 levels (healthy fats that fight against bad cholestrol) are highest in Atlantic salmon (Salmon salar) because they are a naturally oiler species of salmon (due to the fact they may spawn repeatedly so they conserve energy/fats).

        Now, while various studies regarding unwanted contaminents (mainly focussed on PCBs) have found higher levels in Copper River wild sockeye, Puget Sound wild Chinook and Atlantic salmon (farmed) than other species (pink, coho etc), the most important fact is all levels are well below FDA targets of concern (less than 2% in fact). That is, while we could debate endlessly over which salmon is highest for our own vested interests, the fact remains, all salmon is very, very low in contaminents and very high in the good stuff!

  3. Joe says:

    Thanks for your response and information. If I understand you correctly, the hatchery can “imprint” a certain mark on the salmon’s ear bone by changing the water temperature and than recognize this mark years later when the salmon returns? Does “imprint” also mean something to do with the salmon remembering the enviroment in which they were born so they may return later in life?
    And finally, you said the information “wild” or “hatchery origin” salmon is not used in the marketplace. The store I shop sells both wild and wild caught salmon. Does this mean that their salmon supplier is testing their catch to determine hatcery or wild origins?

    Thanks again, Joe

    • The Truth About Alaska Salmon says:

      Hey Joe;

      Perhaps we should just use the word “marking” for the rings marks on the otolith (ear bone) and reserve the word “imprinting” for the process by which the hatchery will place a salmon in a certain region when entered into salt water so the salmon will return to that spot for harvest. Might stop the confusion. As an aside, there is still debate as to how much of a salmon’s memory is imprinted during it’s freshwater and/or saltwater phase.

      As for the marketplace information as to origin or aquaculture type, we’re not sure which state your from or what the laws are for labeling. The term “wild caught” or “line caught” was invented as a way of circumventing the need to distinguish between hatchery origin or truly wild. As 1 in 3 salmon from Alaska are from hatchery origin (that’s a general average – different species will be a lower or higher ratio), it’s a sure bet that the by using those terms you’ve got it covered whether it’s wild, ranched, enhanced etc. We doubt (with 99% certainty) that the supplier is testing the otolith bones to determine whether wild or ranched. If you can get away with calling it a name that sounds “wild” then you may be able to squeeze more $/pound.

      You should simply ask the supplier you are referring to what they do to determine whether they label it “wild” or “wild caught” and why they feel the need to distinguish. Let us know if you find out, cause now you’ve peaked our interest!

  4. Cole says:

    Most of us don’t have the equipment to check the “growth rings” on otoliths, however, there is a way that the layman can check if a salmon was cultured in a hatchery or if it was truly a wild salmon.

    Check its fins. If there is any eroding or scarring on the fins it is most likely that they were at one time it tanks, raceways or cages. When trout and salmon are crowded into and grown in man made enclosures their fins are almost always damaged and the scaring of the fins lasts until the day they die.

    Now if you purchase your salmon in fillets in a supermarket you won’t see any fins, however, if you purchase in a seafood market, like Pike’s Place, you can check out the fins.

    • That is only if a fish was raised its entire life in a hatchery or farmed. The fish in Alaska hatcheries are released so early in age that 1. they aren’t there enough time for significant erosion to take place; 2. they are released so young and small that by the time they are adults, any physical consequences of early life have been healed away. In fact, life in the wild probably has more to do with scarring or marks than anything after that point. . At least I couldn’t, tell the difference, I’ve been in the fish business for over 30 years, have worked in hatcheries, commercial fisheries, and have seen millions of both wild and hatchery originated fish.

  5. Chris says:

    As a lifelong commercial fisherman in Alaska and having grown up in a town supported by what you call a “fish farm” I am slightly disturbed by your portrayal of our fishing industry. Fish are caught and the eggs are hatched artificially and released, but your article makes imprinting sound like a disgusting chemical infused process. It is merely the natural act of a fish remembering the chemical makeup of the stream that it is hatched in. Hatcheries don’t interfere with the fish in any way that is not done naturally in the environment. This is starkly different to fish farms which depend on anti-biotics to keep fish healthy for an extended time to fight off diseases.

    And to answer your question as to how to tell if a salmon is wild born, the only way a laymen could tell is by where it was caught in relation to hatcheries or wild streams. Any marks upon the body are negligible, having fished for both wild and hatchery fish I have noticed NO DIFFERENCE between them. The bodies are very easy to get damaged while being caught and just as easy during processing to get the fish to market which I would attribute any scars to. I would also like to add that most fish that are sent to a famous place such as Pikes Place would have natural born salmon most likely due to timing of the salmon run returns.

    Something else that I would like to point out is that during the 2008 salmon season the reason the hatchery percentage of fish is so high is because the natural stocks did not return as strong and were not commercially harvested, leaving only areas that produced hatchery fish. Previous to 2008 natural fish stocks were much stronger and were a higher percentage of the total Alaskan Salmon catch.
    If you have made it this far in this comment I thankyou, the last thing I would like to say is that Alaska’s salmon runs are the strongest and best managed in the world, I have been to many colleges with marine biology programs that applaud Alaska’s fisheries management.

    • The Truth About Alaska Salmon says:

      Hi Chris;

      Yes, we made it through your whole comment!! It was actually a good read.

      It’s unfortunate that you find some of the information presented in this blog about Alaska’s fishing industry “disturbing”, but you’ll be hard pressed to find any information presented in this blog that is incorrect. This blog simply provides information that the average reader rarely gets to view – thanks to some pretty slick marketing campaigns and lobbyists for Alaska salmon. A good example of how well this campaign works is actually evident in your comment, “fish farms depend on antibiotics to keep fish healthy”. This is simply not true – but you have been hooked into the “farmed salmon is bad” campaign and choose to repeat it. If you are close to the Alaska industry, you’ll also know that Alaska ranched salmon are indeed treated with antibiotics should the fish become ill – but does that mean you “depend” on them? Probably not. Besides, cultured salmon (including Alaska) are typically vaccinated to help combat disease and this has greatly reduced the need to treat with therapeutants.

      Lastly, your comments about hatchery salmon outnumbering wild salmon in 2008 is really concerning – that is why this blog stresses the need for science based management to review the risk of pumping billions (Alaska, Japan and Russia release over 5 billion each year) of salmon into the ocean to compete for food with wild fish. If you don’t study it, then there’s no risk, right?

      You refer to Alaska’s salmon as “the best managed” fishery. We would suggest that the you can’t point to millions of returning hatchery fish as “good management”. That is a white wash – and your admission that 2008 saw a high proportion of hatchery fish return in some areas as compared to wild salmon only proves that point.

      Have a merry Christmas Chris.

  6. Bill says:

    Hello,
    You have quite an informative site here and it’s been a good read. I AM an Alaskan fisherman and have worked in ninety percent of these fishery’s in my 36 years. I use these water to feed and provide for my family as a troller these days and a sport fisherman when I get a chance.
    I think what Joe was getting at with his earlier questions were the difference between “farmed” and “hatchery” salmon the way I read it. If you think there is no difference then you have personally never set eyes on a side by side comparison.
    As far as farming salmon goes I personally believe there is a way to do so properly. However with incidents of the release of Salmo salar ( Atlantic )
    salmon from farms in the Campbell river in 2007 25,000 , Port Elizabeth 2009 40,000 and to quote. ” Annual escapes in Washington prior to 1996 are not recorded, however, in 1996, 1997, and 1999, catastrophic events resulted in the escape of 107,000, 369,000, and 115,000 Atlantic salmon, respectively”. We have a problem. A very BIG problem.
    And yes we catch some every year in our little corner of Southeast Alaska.

    We need to farm,ranch and keep all of our fish near their respective body of water to ensure our children and their children have the same experience we get to enjoy.
    P.S. maybe that’s where all of your returns have gone? Has anyone ever tried the same hook line method in the pacific? They are not known for being big lure hitters just like sockeye.
    Bill M

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  8. Sunil says:

    Great article, great discussion ensuing. Where did the graph showing the impact of intervention come from? We are just finishing off our book on aquaculture and behaviour and this would be good to use as an example of the blurring of the lines between aquaculture and fisheries.

    I think its a real shame that there is a sort of war between fisheries and aquaculture in Alaska/the US, rather than an acknowledgment that fisheries is using aquaculture methods and technology in order to achieve some sort of sustainability – in fact i believe the state is almost in denial and has a law against salmon aquaculture in Alaska, in spite of aquaculture being used to sustain the fishery?

    • The Truth About Alaska Salmon says:

      Thanks Sunil;

      We couldn’t agree with you more. As you seem well aware, fisheries in Alaska are indeed “blurring the lines” between aquaculture and fisheries. This is clearly done for marketing reasons and is a shame. As we clearly state in this blog, we support sustainable fisheries and aquaculture – and Alaska is a good example of both. Yet, the State (and supporting philanthropic foundations) seems to attack aquaculture at any given chance, and this does not help promote seafood to the consumer. It only serves to confuse.

      The graph was taken from another website that explained the overfishing that threatened the Alaska salmon fishery in the 50’s and 60’s, and the subsequent growth of aquaculture (hatcheries) which have since supplemented the fishery.

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  10. John Clavijo says:

    Excellent article, I swore that Alaska salmon as a whole was wild, a greeting from Bogotá, Colombia.

  11. Lindsey Pattinson says:

    I read it all to here and am interested in all this. Great site. I am from Canada and didn’ t know about Japans and Russias salmon ranching practice, thanks. Anyway, I believe anti salmon farming campaigns are good because open net salmon farms in Canada here act as nurseries for sea lice which kill baby wild salmon migrating by. I am a tour guide interested in how nature works and have arrived here to gain knowledge. I hope salmon ranching takes into account the possible out-competition of wild stocks from other salmon rivers. Some salmon rivers in Japan, Russia, Alaska/USA & Canada might migrate into each others paths. I believe salmon should choose their own mate and that what nature provided it with at that time. Changing temperatures might for instance, change a salmons choice of mate to one that can handle the change. International competition, greediness, uneducated mistakes might make the north pacific eventually lose genetic diversity. Do we need a genetic database of all salmon runs? Is it possible to preserve eggs and have them hatch in 100 years? Anyway, the more I look into this, it stinks. Maybe I’m just an idealist but it seems such an amazing phenomena to lose.

    All the best,

    Lindsey P

    • The Truth About Alaska Salmon says:

      Hi Lindsey;

      Thanks for taking the time to review this site. Care is taking in salmon ranching regions to protect genetic diversity. Most hatchery and net pen imprinting sites are located far from important salmon bearing rivers, so when the salmon return to location of birth, they reduce the potential for interaction with wild salmon.

      You’ll be pleased to know that cryogenics has provided an ability to save milt for future use. http://www.reproduction-online.org/content/53/1/13.full.pdf

      You mention your concern that net cage farms in Canada may be killing wild salmon because they are hosting and transferring sea lice to wild juvenile salmon. We would like to have an opportunity to respond to those concerns – could we ask that you provide links to published studies that suggest this to be the case?

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    • The Truth About Alaska Salmon says:

      Hi. To answer your question “What is Salmon Ranching”, you can read about it here; https://alaskasalmonranching.wordpress.com/what-is-salmon-ranching/

      The term “wild-caught” salmon is a used to describe a salmon that is caught with a method deemed to be “traditional” (a net or hook), but it was born and raised in an aquaculture operation (ie. hatchery and net pens). It is not always known whether an Alaska salmon is truly wild (born and raised in a river) as up to 40% of Alaska salmon caught were raised in a hatchery, so the term “wild-caught” captures both culture and capture method.

      TTAAS

  13. Frank B. says:

    Several questions. I’ve read stories which state that farmed or ranched salmon are fed (land) animal remains and are given antibiotics and growth hormones. Is there any truth to this? I try to stay away from animals (e.g., chickens) that are factory farmed and given antibiotics and hormones, and I’d like to do the same with salmon. My second question is, any opinion on Copper River “Wild Caught” salmon, which they sell at Sam’s Club? And what about Vital Choice Seafood’s salmon?

    Thanks,
    Frank

    • The Truth About Alaska Salmon says:

      Hi Frank;

      Salmon, whether ranched or farm-raised, are not fed growth hormones. All salmon that are reared in captivity (ranched, wild-caught, farmed or hatchery) may be given antibiotics if the animal requires it – it’s the law – an animal must be given care if required. That being said, very little antibiotics is given to salmon, and if they do recieve it, it is prescribed by a veterinarian and there is a mandatory waiting period to ensure there is zero residue left in the meat.

      As for your question about feed – aquaculture has made great strides to reduce it’s reliance on fish meal and oil (for conservation reasons – without alternatives aquacutlure cannot continue to grow). Today alternatives to fish meal and oil includes vegetable, soy and poultry. Also, the trimmings from other fisheries are utilized for a substitute to fishing for the raw ingredient. These alternatives are included in most salmon diets that are raised in captivity (hatchery or ocean based farm).

      As for opinion on Copper River or Vital Choice Seafood, we’d prefer to stick to fact. We have discussed both a few times on this blog – use the “Search” function to locate the articles.

      Thanks for the questions Frank,

      TTAAS

  14. NEMO says:

    Does anyone know what the recapture rate of hatchery salmon is, and is it economically feasible to do this on a small scale if I own a lot of land and a private stream that feeds into a large river?
    thanks!

    • The Truth About Alaska Salmon says:

      Hi NEMO. Perhaps there are others that would like to comment, but what we know is this; the recapture rate is highly variable, but on average anywhere from 1%-6% of released hatchery salmon in Alaska survive to be captured. This is referenced in the annual reports of the State of Alaska. The economic feasibility of a small scale operation is questionable as most salmon ranching programs that are running in Japan, Russia and Alaska are massive in scale. This is really dependant on your cost of producing fry and the average survival/capture rate.
      TTAAS

  15. Excellent site. I am from BC and used to farm fish. We have been a victim of pro Alaska anti farm salmon campaigns for decades. I hope the Canadian ENGO’s being paid by US foundations to slag their fellow Canadians in the name of saving the environment come to this site to learn about Alaska fish farming. See http://www.fair-questions.com to follow the money trail of the US campaign to demarket BC farmed salmon by pretending Alaska salmon is pristine and “wild”. Our ENGO’s here in BC are so gullible they just gobble up the donations and do the Alaska Seafood Marketting Institute’s dirty work for them.

    BC farmed salmon is much more eco-friendly than Alaska ranched salmon. Save the wild, eat farmed.

    Keep up the good work. Can you please take Alexandra Morton back to the USA where she came from…please!! Why cant a billionaire’s daughter (google Barbara Hubbard daughter of Toy tycoon Marx) attack her own farm salmon in the USA and leave us alone?

    • rhytonen says:

      “I hope the Canadian ENGO’s being paid by US foundations to slag their fellow Canadians in the name of saving the environment come to this site to learn about Alaska fish farming. ”

      I bet you do.
      Re: “Following the money;”
      see the documentary films “Food, Inc.” and “The Corporation.”

      There is absolutely NOTHING to which corporations will not resort, to eke out another penny of profit. And the existence of propaganda websites like this one are notorious and vast in number, profitability, and financing. It’s in fact a whole industry, and includes those sites claiming proof that tobacco smoking, for instance, is “harmless.”

      What’s even more pitiable is the gullibility of self-interested but even partially well meaning purveyors within the industries and professions themselves, like the dupes supporting the notoriously murderous coal, oil and gas industries in West Virginia and Kentucky; who are fed tripe from these propagandists that their own labor history exposes as 100% abusively profiteering bullpucky.

  16. mike says:

    What is the differance between farmed fish and ranch fish? Is it that farmed fish are raised in the ocean and ranched fish are raised in fresh water?
    Does Alaska use Atlantic salmon eggs like BC ?

    • The Truth About Alaska Salmon says:

      Hi Mike. Although you ask about “fish”, we assume you are asking specifically about salmon? Farm-raised salmon are raised in both freshwater and saltwater, although some small scale land based operations do grow salmon to market in freshwater the whole time. Ranched salmon are raised in both freshwater and saltwater.

      The real difference between farmed and ranched salmon is that farms contain the salmon for their entire lifecycle in tanks or netpens, whereas ranched salmon are contained for the first few months of their life and then released into the open ocean to graze for food until being harvested when the instinct to return “home” kicks in.

      Alaska ranches Pacific salmon, whereas farms in BC and Washington State raise Pacific and Atlantic salmon.

      Hope that answers your questions!

      TTAAS

  17. johannes says:

    Much needed discussion. I’m beginning to see that “wild caught” fish in the store are not necessarily “wild.” Who knew? I guess fish farmers have warrant to make the charge of “unfair marketing games” and the Alaska ocean ranching program should review its advertising. Maybe when it comes to labeling, “free range” would be more accurate than “wild caught.”

    But I don’t understand how this justifies the statement, “Alaska practices fish farming”. Alaska doesn’t. Ocean ranching and fish farming each has unique environmental impacts and each has unique management regimes to deal with them. One of the main concerns with ocean ranching is about genetic introgression and so protocols for brood stock selection are strict. And, fish farming? Not so much. Rather, the worries with fish farming are more about sea lice and novel disease introduction. Consequently, it has strong rules for lice numbers and egg importation. Each to its own, they just are different.

    The pot calling the kettle black always raises an eyebrow. What gives? I would be less suspicious if farmers in Canada would be willing to accept the same management regime Alaska ocean ranching does. (eg. in Canada, farmers are allowed to keep penned adult fish in the migratory pathways of wild salmon. Even in inlets! This is carefully avoided under Alaska ocean ranching regulations).

    Blurring the distinction between wild and ocean ranching is not good, but neither is blurring the distinction between ocean ranching and fish farming–not for consumers, not for fish.

    Disclosure for farmsalmon4ever: my mother immigrated to Canada in the 50’s and my family was very poor. Hope this doesn’t raise my credibility unfairly.
    Cheers johannes

    • farmsalmon4ever says:

      The regulatory regime for BC salmon farmers is a helluva alot more strict than that for Alaska fishermen. The drugs they use in their hatcheries is out of control: they can use whatever they want.

      Also more and more BC salmon farmers raise their broodstock in hatcheries to keep them free of disease carried by wild fish. OBVIOUSLY, as with every other type of farming, the farmed animal will be cleaner than the wild ones. This is even more the case with salmon farming.

      I farmed salmon for 15 years. Sea lice were on my salmon during the in-migration of wild stocks. Then they fell off. It is only the BS of Morton and the chicken-shittedness of beaurocrats that we now treat farm salmon with SLICE. Sea lice are a manufactured problem. We shoudl only be treating when a vet thinks there is a problem; now the treatments are mandated by regulation so alot more is used. still a pittance of drug compared to other food industries- and lots do not have to be treated at all.

      The drug use and regulatory regime in Alaska fish farming is out of control and lax. Not to mention how they screw with the distribution of salmon by imprinting them wherever it is convenient for fishermen irregardless of their streams/ rivers of origin, its bad bad news; the very worst kind of fish farming.

      PS why would I care if your Mom is an immigrant? As long as she is not a lying billionaire from Boston paid by large US foundations to demarket her new home’s salmon producers (ie like Morton) then Im ok.

  18. Today I bought a can of John West Wild Alaskan red salmon, or so it says on the can in BIG attention grabbing lettering. In much smaller typing (about font 8 maybe) it says certified sustainable by MSC. Mmm… so I wonder how a “wild” Alaskan salmon gets to be raised in a hatchery? Wild means wild without human interference. It’s a sad state of affairs when folk can’t tell the truth no matter how tasty the product. Brian, Auckland New Zealand

  19. Adams says:

    G’day Brian…if it’s Red Salmon, or Sockeye (Oncorhynchus nerka) then it is “Wild”. To the best of my knowledge there are relatively little, if any, Sockeyes that are commercially ranched or raised in the aquaculture industry. This is due to their diet. Cheers.

    • The Truth About Alaska Salmon says:

      Hi Adams, you are correct in that the sockeye species represents the smallest percent of Alaska ocean ranched salmon (5% or about 3.9 million fish). In 2010, pink and chum salmon dominated the return of commercially caught salmon in Alaska (67% and 57% respectively), while coho, Chinook and sockeye followed in behind (21%, 15%, and 5% respectively). http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/FedAidPDFs/FMR11-04.pdf

  20. Michael Cherni says:

    Since the inception of life on earth, life has absorbed pretty much an unengineered, uncontaminated spectrum of nutrients throughout the food chain. Now, in the last century, so much of what we eat has been altered in some way or another.

    So, what are the true, long term risks of eating “farmed” anything?

    In the next decades we may begin to understand the results of the massive experiment so many of us are undertaking with our lives.

    Do I know the end result? Of course not. But then I don’t pretend to.

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  24. MargeP says:

    I’m really enjoying the articles on this site! Thanks for your information.
    You talked about wild, wild-caught and farmed salmon having similar levels of omega 3’s. I was wondering about the Omega 6’s. It’s my understanding that farmed salmon are high in Omega 6’s due to a higher soy diet. Do you have any comparison for Omega 6’s? Can you direct me to your information on health aspects?
    Secondly, I wondered what is in the fish powder and what the salmon eat before being released.
    Thanks again for all of your great information!!!

    • Hi MargeP, the information available online shows the ratio of Omega 3 to 6 at a healthy 0.66 in Atlantic farm-raised salmon, and we have provided the link to this information below. We cannot locate this similar ratio for 3:6 for other species of wild or wild-caught salmon, but we do provide a link to the Omega 3 levels in several species.

      Nutritional Value of Selected Types of Seafood and Other Animal Foods http://www.ats.agr.gc.ca/sea-mer/hs-wp-eng.pdf

      Omega 3:6 ratio in Atlantic farm-raised salmon http://www.marineharvestcanada.com/pdf/mics/Nutrition_Facts.pdf

      Omega 3 level comparison in salmon species http://twitter.yfrog.com/h6cnp

      You ask about “fish powder”? We assume you are referring to fish feed for small salmon fry? If so, the feed is for smaller salmon is quite fish meal rich, and much more inclusion of fish meal than is required for later stages in a salmon’s life. We can’t find a reference to this particular diet of salmon fry, but we can locate a reference to the ingredients of today’s fish feed diet for adult salmon. Fry diets would be very similar, but as we say, would contain higher levels of fish meal (protein) at this early stage. http://www.bcsalmonfacts.ca/#!/fact/feed

      Thanks for asking, and we hope this information is helpful!

      TTAAS

  25. rhytonen says:

    The real PROBLEM -and it’s a terminal one, that has me absolute on avoiding farmed
    or ” wild CAUGHT” salmon(beside the term’s obvious LYING-)
    – is that the soy -ALL soy- is GMO, and to be avoided at all costs.

    • Hi ‘rhytonen’. Please tell us why? Why is modified soy to be avoided at “all costs”?

      PS, scientific literature and facts preferred.

      TTAAS

      • MargeP says:

        Re: Soy Feed…The following article contains several studies about harmful effects of soy when products are consumed by mammals. http://todayyesterdayandtomorrow.wordpress.com/2007/09/16/soy-the-untold-story/ The soy industry promotes “studies” and beliefs that soy is healthy. Soy is not real food, just really cheap to produce. Fish did not evolve eating soy. It’s difficult for people and fish to digest, so difficult that scientists have to further manipulate it. See: http://www.seafoodbusiness.com/articledetail.aspx?id=11886 When soy proteins are manipulated, they become toxic and inflammatory to the body. I would guess that it wouldn’t be great for fish either.
        Try a handful of soy based fish food and let us know how your belly feels afterwards.
        As far as genetically modified soy, most of it is. There is some belief that altered food will alter gut flora in humans, So, why not also in fish?
        Allergens are also an issue. They are believed to be passed through the food source, whether beef, eggs or fish. (For example, those with Celiac have a difficult time with grain fed beef.) I doubt the soy or fish industries would check this out because it would interfere with their bottom lines.

      • Hi ‘MargeP’, we trust the information we provided about Omega 6 was helpful.

        Thank you for sharing information about soy. We will take a close look at both sides of this issue.

        It is a focus for fish feed manufacturers to use sustainable raw materials in fish feed. To allow aquaculture to grow to meet increasing demand, reliance on marine ingredients (anchovy etc) will need to be further reduced as raw marine ingredients is a finite resource. Alternatives to raw marine ingredients is fish processing trimmings (a by product of other fisheries), or vegetable proteins. When vegetable protein ingredients such as soya and faba beans are chosen, these raw materials must be tested to ensure that the fish is receiving its nutritional requirements. They must also consider environmental and eco-footprint impacts, as well as the nutritional profile of the marketable fish. A document discussing “Sustainable Feed Solutions” for aquaculture can be found here http://www.skrettingguidelines.com/readimage.aspx?pubid=03147c85-f3c7-4774-a418-0aeace4ccf65

        TTAAS

  26. rhytonen says:

    Incapable of Googling the latest GMO tests? Does not fill me with faith in your credibility, they’re well publicized. Stay tuned, I’ll help you out. While you wait, mull this FACT over: Monsanto refuses to serve GMO foods in its executive cafeteria.

    • Hi ‘rhytonen’, we thought we were have a discussion and that you would be willing to assist, as you were the one who brought the subject up. Thanks for offering assistance, we are always willing to learn and discuss scientific literature.

      It should be noted that, while many agriculture crops in the US may be GM, there are no aquaculture companies (that we are aware of) that currently produce any GM fish for market. Most aquaculture association have , in fact, voiced their disinterest in producing GM fish.

    • Carla says:

      Aha……They are the devil! Monsanto

  27. Pingback: Wild-Caught Salmon Wild Or Not | Lighterdayz

  28. Carole Chapman says:

    Just caught up on this debate. It has put me off salmon competely. It seems that food producers don’t care what they feed animals etc. as long as they make more profit. We have seen it with beef cattle, poultry and now FISH. I could cry.
    Carole, U.K.

    • Hi Carole, perhaps you could express what has “put (you) off salmon completely”. We would appreciate the opportunity to respond, as we believe that there are many good seafoods to eat and that salmon is one of those (wild, wild-caught and farm-raised). If you are concerned about the feed fed to aquaculture fish, what specifically is your concern?

      TTAAS

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