Advertisement

The Wild Salmon Debate

By David Dobbs, March/April 2008

A fresh look at farmed vs. wild.


READER'S COMMENT:
"Great article. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. However, I would like to hear some argument against eating wild caught and the impacts of wild fisheries. For example, if there is a lot of by-catch, and trawling that completely...
COMMENTS POSTEDsort icon

As others have pointed out, not a lot of consumers realize the true cost of their consumption, we expect food to be cheaper than it really costs to produce. Also as another said, these are part of the rest of the food chain as well and this effects much more than just humans.
To say that you will buy it anyway and "who cares" just makes you look like an idiot anyway. Supporting the farmed salmon induatry will do nothing but cost us all in the end. If you cannot afford to eat wild salmon (which I find to be reasonably priced and I do not make much money) then DON'T EAT IT. Why do we feel entitled to eat all these things that are cheaper (because we won't or can't pay more for them) while compromising the whole planet at the same time? There are plenty of other things to eat. It's ridiculous, irresponsible and stupid. This is the kind of thinking that is ruining our planet that we all share, and ruining our country.

Anonymous

01/26/2010 - 3:01pm

If your bank account is big enough to shoulder the cost of Wild Caught, Grass Fed, Organically Grown, then bravo for you. Most of us out here in the real world are not in a position to endorse over our entire paychecks to Whole Foods and other markets alike. In a perfect world we would all eat only the purest of foods. But this clearly is not a perfect world, and a good portion of us are just glad we can reap the health benefits from the salmon we are "able" to afford.

Anonymous, Thousand Oaks, CA

Anonymous

11/09/2009 - 8:56am

We not only should be completely avoiding farmed salmon, we should be boycotting those restaurants and supermarkets still offering these enviromentally distructive frankenfoods.

Anonymous, Seattle, WA

Anonymous

10/04/2009 - 1:52pm

My family much prefers the taste and texture of farmed salmon. We buy it at our local Albertson's for a little as $4.00 per pound and Keta Salmon goes for $1.99 so we feast on Keta a lot. All the wild fishing has been shut down anyway so it is a good thing we love the farmed and a lot of canned tuna. Hey! Once you smother it in Tartar sauce, who cares. Thanks.

lorelei, Altadena, CA

Anonymous

09/01/2009 - 2:50pm

What about the ridiculously high PCB content found in farmed salmon? PCB content needs to come down 90% to compete with Alaskan Wild Salmon. Everyone here needs to get their facts straight! www.ewg.org

EWG.org, Everywhere, CA

Anonymous

09/01/2009 - 2:50pm

Eric (from Takoma Park) THANK YOU for answering my question! The store that I go to offers "semi-vegetarian" raised salmon (where sardines are only used sparingly because of their high mercury levels) which are certified by the MSC. However, they also have farm-raised salmon from Norway. If I understand Thomas Tizard's comments correctly, then this fish might be a reasonable alternative. Again, my main concerns are 1) high mercury levels in wild salmon and 2) the environmental impact of fisheries. If I had to infer, the Norwegian farm raised fish seem to score well on environmental impact but not on mercury levels. So it looks like I have to pick between lower mercury levels (in farm raised "vegetarian" salmon) and environmental sustainability (by buying wild salmon). Is that how most people see the trade-off?

Anonymous, in Cleveland, Oh

Anonymous

09/01/2009 - 2:50pm

Mark Twain once said, “I didn't have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one instead." This was way too long for the point he was trying to make. I am a freelance writer and know the value of getting to the point quickly. What was with all that Charles Johnson stuff?

Spicy Brice, Littleton, CO

Anonymous

09/01/2009 - 2:49pm

Thank you for a well written article. In response to the comment from Anonymous in Cleveland, the MSC does not certify aquaculture operations (yet). They must be certified by someone else, and there are some serious shortfalls with some of the certifying bodies that currently exist. WWF is hosting aquaculture dialogues that are bringing together people from industry and NGOs to develop eco-certification standards that will then be handed to a third party (like the MSC) to do the audits and certifications. The other comment that I would like to make is that all to often we expect things to be cheap, not realizing the true cost of our consumption. Government subsidies are a huge problem for wild fisheries and makes it seem like fish is much cheaper than it actually is. As a global society, only paying the total cost of a product, no matter what it is, will lead to conservation of our natural resources for future generations. Europe in general is much further ahead of the US on this. Hopefully we will evolve rapidly.

Eric, Takoma Park, MD

Anonymous

09/01/2009 - 2:49pm

Mr. Dobbs, I would like to first thank you for bringing to the forefront the issues that surround this topic. However, I feel that you overlooked mentioning the large amounts of antibiotics and other drugs that are given to farm raised fish in their food to prevent disease outbreaks. What are the long term effect of these things? Also I feel that you completely overlooked the work being done in Alaska by the non-profit aquaculture associations. These groups have been working out the intricacies of "fish ranching" for more that 30 years. I also feel that you have failed to place credit where credit is due. The main reason that Alaskan salmon are doing so well is not because of good management by our state organization, but by the hundreds of millions of juvenile salmon that are released from these hatcheries annually. I would encourage any interested person to do some research into Alaskan hatcheries to see what we have been doing to overcome the problem that affect "farm raised" salmon. All in all, the article was fair, but you forgot about Alaska like everyone else!

Andrew Walter, Homer, Ak

Anonymous

09/01/2009 - 2:49pm

Very informative BUT when looking at the fish farms, you only consider salmon as food for humans. These fish are an important part of the food chain for other living creatures.

Audrey Naese, Carmel, ME

Anonymous

09/01/2009 - 2:49pm



Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner