As the earth’s populations hunger for salmon increases and the population of wild salmon decreases, aquaculture has become commonplace and profitable. Aquaculture is just another way of saying farm raised. On the surface there wouldn’t appear to be too many disadvantages to aquaculture and there isn’t, but they are rather startling. First some of the advantages:
• A reliable food source: According to Environmental Expert.com, farm raised salmon makes up 50% of all salmon sold in the US
• Year round availability: aquaculture eliminates salmon shortages when the season is closed for their harvesting
• Complete control over water temperature and food consumption means faster growing fish
• The ability to harvest the salmon at their peek
• Aquaculture makes salmon more affordable for consumers
Now some of the disadvantages:
• Farm raised salmon make ideal hosts for contagious diseases which require antibiotics and other drugs that ultimately ends up in our water supply
• Along with antibiotics in their food, dye is put in to recreate the pinkish hue of wild caught salmon, or they are injected with dyes as farm raised salmon has gray colored flesh
• Aquaculture contains high concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) which has been proven to cause cancer, reproductive issues, and long term neurological effects
• Some experts recommend only eating only two 4oz. portions per month
The unfortunate thing is that the wild caught market falls into the supply-and-demand category whereas farm raised does but not as much because we can just raise more as demand increases. There is however a cheaper way of getting wild caught salmon that most people have overlooked, canned salmon. I know what you’re thinking….canned? Yup, canned salmon is almost always wild caught because fish that has dyed meat isn’t conducive to canning.
While I’ve only scratched the surface of this debate of wild vs. aquaculture, the decision doesn’t seem to be too difficult for me. If some experts are telling me to only eat a half pound of farm raised salmon per month, I’ll spring for the extra $10 that month and eat wild caught. This truly may be a case of "pick your poison!"
FYI: the 70’s and 80’s rock band Jethro Tull, their front man Ian Anderson, is a very successful salmon farmer with numerous salmon farms scattered throughout New England.