Fishers used to find salmon all over the world, including both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Atlantic salmon is a species of salmon found primarily in the Atlantic Ocean from the coast of North American to Europe’s western shores. Most people question if Atlantic salmon is wild, and the answer to that is that Atlantic Salmon is most likely not wild-caught. The Atlantic salmon you see in the store today is farm raised salmon. Over the last century, fishers have fished Atlantic salmon to the point of becoming endangered. As a result, farm raised Atlantic salmon has grown as a practice in the last several decades as an alternative to the depleted populations of wild-caught Atlantic Salmon. Wild-caught Atlantic salmon is still struggling to stabilize.
FARM RAISED ATLANTIC SALMON
As we know it today, Atlantic salmon farming began on Norway salmon farms during the 1960s. Europeans and Americans sought out new ways of farming salmon after centuries of overfishing the Atlantic Ocean. The salmon farming industry has grown since the 1960s, and you can now find salmon farms all over Europe and North American. You can even find Chilean salmon farms. Atlantic salmon is the most common salmon you find raised on salmon farms.
Atlantic salmon is unique in that the fish adapted well to salmon farming conditions and is easier to handle than other salmon species. The vast majority of research and development into salmon farming practices is done with Atlantic salmon because of their adaptability outside of their natural environment.
ATLANTIC VS. PACIFIC SALMON:
One of the first things you will notice when comparing Atlantic farmed salmon to wild-caught salmon is the color. Farm raised salmon color is much lighter than most types of wild-salmon. Salmon farms feed their salmon a diet of highly processed fish food while the diet of natural salmon includes smaller fish, plankton, and other invertebrates, all of which contribute to the dark red color of wild-caught salmon fillets. Atlantic salmon fillets gain their orange color from additives included in their diet on salmon farms.
IS ATLANTIC SALMON HEALTHY?
There are some significant differences when it comes to Atlantic salmon nutrition. Studies have found that Atlantic salmon is higher in calories and fat. Farmed salmon has an undesirable ratio of Omega-3 fatty acids to Omega-6 fatty acids than it’s wild-caught counterparts. Atlantic salmon calories come mostly from their increased fat content. Salmon farms feed their salmon a diet that’s much higher in fats, and the lack of room in floating salmon cages make it almost impossible for salmon to swim freely.
The delicate balance of Omega 3s to Omega 6s is better among wild-caught salmon, making wild-caught salmon a healthier choice when it comes to Omega3’s which have powerful benefits in the body.
Studies have found that Atlantic salmon can still increase Omega 3s in test subjects, but the studies were short term studies with less than 20 participants. These studies did not look into the long-term effects of consuming higher amounts of omega 6s. Scientists do believe that a poor balance of omega 3s to Omega 6s can increase inflammation in the body and lead to increased chronic disease.