Is all sockeye salmon wild?

 In

Alaskan sockeye salmon is the only true source of wild-caught sustainable salmon fishing. Salmon has grown in popularity for its many health benefits and ease of preparation which in turn puts a strain on supply due to the high demand. The problem we have is that mass production means quality suffers greatly and leads to misinformation.

One of the first salmon scams was from as early as 2005 by the New York Times was reporting on farm fished salmon being sold as wild-caught with continued reports from the non-profit ocean conservation group Oceana, which has released a new study showing that 43 percent of 82 salmon samples from restaurants and grocery stores were mislabeled. In 69 percent of the cases farmed Atlantic salmon was being sold as wild.

Oceana reported that 48 percent of the samples bought in several Virginia cities, 45 percent of those bought in Washington, D.C., 38 percent in Chicago, and 37 percent in New York were mislabeled. In addition to farmed salmon being sold as wild, Oceana found that samples labeled as a specific type of salmon, such as Chinook (King), turned out to be different species in DNA testing.

The report concluded that consumers were five times more likely to be misled about salmon in restaurants than grocery stores (38 percent vs. 7 percent) and that salmon bought out-of-season from all retail outlets was three times more likely to be mislabeled than salmon purchased during the commercial fishing season (23 percent vs. 8 percent, respectively).

Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell at a glance whether salmon is wild or farmed. Once you’ve eaten wild salmon, you may be able to recognize the taste – it’s more pronounced than farmed salmon and the flesh is firmer.

At Fish & Co we recommend wild Alaskan salmon. Not only because it is delicious and a good source of health-protective omega-3 fatty acids, we also have concerns about potential contaminants in farm-raised salmon. Even though this is a complex issue and that some farmed salmon is of acceptable quality it still cannot compare to wild caught Salmon.

If wild salmon isn’t readily available where you live, you can order it online from us here at Fish & Co (www.fishandco.com/shop). Its wild Alaskan salmon, flash-frozen when caught and comes from sustainable, well-managed fishing operations. If fresh or frozen wild Alaskan salmon is too pricey for your food budget, you can get the same omega-3 fatty acids found in it from canned sockeye (red) salmon sold in supermarkets. (It’s all wild – sockeye cannot be farmed).

Source: “Oceana Reveals Mislabeling of America’s Favorite Fish: Salmon.” http://usa.oceana.org/publications/reports/oceana-reveals-mislabeling-americas-favorite-fish-salmon, October 2015, accessed October 28, 2015

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