This is a complex issue to understand. Logically we’d think farm-raised (by the way, “ocean-raised” fish is the same as “farm-raised” just a new marketing name. Farm-raised fish are fish in pens in the ocean and when this got a bad wrap they changed the name, that’s all) would be better for our environment and better for us. But we have learned that farm raised means that the fish don’t get lots of swimming room, are prone to disease (and therefore fed antibiotics) and can get out and infect the fish in the wild. They are also high in mercury.
Salmon is an incredibly healthful fish full of omega 3s. Since Farmed Salmon are fed pellets instead of what they eat in the wild three elements are affected.
First, the food that they normally eat in the wild converts into powerful omega 3s for us; the farm raised salmon doesn’t have as high nutritional value. Second, the food they eat naturally helps them turn that beautiful pink color to which we are accustomed; the farm raised are therefore fed colorings to make them more palatable to our eye. Finally, the food they eat affects how they taste and there is truly no comparison in flavor or texture.
When choosing to eat fish, we must consider:
The importance of fish to our health with valuable Omega-3s, protein, low fat. The sustainability of the fish, that it is not overfished and that it is safe for our environment. The health of the fish and the life of the fish (what it eats, how it lives). Cost. We really can’t afford to eat farmed salmon. Taste.
We do know that fish is important for our health.
Fish, particularly cold water oily fish, have valuable Omega 3s. We are just now exploring all the benefits of these EFAs and are finding that they are invaluable to good health. They help reduce risks of heart disease, cancer, age-related blindness and eye problems, arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases as well as keep a healthy circulatory system. We should strive for two to three servings (total of 6 – 12 ounces per week as one serving is considered 3 but can be as much as 6 ounces) per week of a fish high in Omega 3s.
“The National Cancer Institute has linked consumption of red meat– beef, pork and veal–to an increased risk of several types of cancer, including breast cancer. One study found that the risk of breast cancer doubled in postmenopausal women who ate three ounces of red meat a day as compared with women who ate one ounce or less of red meat daily. Instead, emphasize fish, especially fatty fish such as salmon–their omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent breast cancer.”
–Sola Ogundipe, What Every Women Should Know About Breast Cancer