The Wildly Straight Facts about Farming Salmon

In the Fire

Delicious flavor and numerous health benefits make salmon one of the most popular fish on the market for cooking, but eating it raises a number of concerns.

Culinary Arts

Salmon: the Merits

Salmon is low in calories and saturated fat and high in protein, zinc, and vitamins B and D. Know to be one of the best known sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, salmon has the following health benefits:

  • Decreases heart disease and cholesterol
  • Reduces the effects of arthritis and other inflammatory problems
  • Helps to maintain a healthy circulatory system
  • Helps to effective treat depression
  • Reduces some cancer risks

Cooking with Salmon: Wild vs Farmed Dichotomy

Wild salmon is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to purchase because of population decline. Farm raised salmon is available in endless quantities, but does not offer the same health benefits as wild salmon and, in fact, presents a number of potential risks to humans and the environment

Fall of the Wild Salmon

While wild salmon were once abundant throughout the waters of the Pacific Northwest, this is no longer the case. Habitat destruction, caused mostly by humans and parasites from salmon farms, are the main reasons for this population decline. Rigid state policies in Alaska have stabilized their wild salmon population and as a result ten times more salmon come from there than from California, Oregon, and Washington combined.

Murky Waters

Salmon farming stirs up controversy and questions for many reasons, primarily because of the harm it has been shown to inflict on humans, sea life, and the environment. Salmon farming takes place when thousands of fish are enclosed in open net-cages in the ocean. By design, these net-cages allow water to flow freely through them, but unfortunately they also allow toxins, fish waste, and parasites to flow freely out of them, which can have a devastating effect on neighboring sea life.

A few more facts about farmed salmon:

  • It is much lower in omega-3 fatty acids than wild salmon
  • It contains up to 10 times the amount of cancer causing PCB's than wild salmon
  • Antibiotics, pesticides, and fungicides used to control pervasive pathogens impact humans and the environment
  • Artificial dyes are used to turn the salmon flesh pink
  • Parasites, namely sea lice, exit farms and wipe out large numbers of young, wild salmon, which greatly reduces overall salmon populations
  • Large concentrations of waste settles on the ocean floor beneath the farms, which results in massive environmental damage and destruction of plant life

Fishing for Answers

Despite the rash of negative information put forth, all hope is not lost for those who like cooking salmon. A viable solution to the ill effects of salmon farming does exist, and if put into action, could immediately eradicate most of the these concerns. By raising salmon in land-based enclosed tanks, the majority of the effects that salmon farms have on sea life and the environment could be eliminated. Other fish such as tilapia and trout are currently raised this way. Norway and Canada are championing the switch to these types of enclosures but it is not a reality quite yet.

Saving the Wild Salmon: What You Can Do

Ask questions before you purchase salmon at restaurants and in the markets if your cooking it at home and make a notable effort to purchase only wild salmon. This could impact salmon farmers enough to convince them to re-evaluate their practices.

About the Author:

Featured Culinary Schools

Refine School Matches
Hide filters

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
            • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
            • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
            • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            3 Program(s) Found
            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Instructors are typically real-world professionals with many years of experience in their career fields.
            • Ranked #3 in Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges 2014 by Military Times.
            • Presents the full tuition cost up front. In most cases, even textbooks are included in the total price.
            • Provides career services associates to help students review their resume, provide career counseling, help with job searches, and more.
            • Has 27 campus locations across the southern United States, plus offers online degree programs.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Le Cordon Bleu provides hands-on training from professional chef instructors.
            • Offer Flexible schedules and online programs to fit busy lives, Certificate, Associates, Bachelors and online programs available. Programs vary by location.
            • Le Cordon Bleu provides a pathway from essential foundational training to advanced culinary degrees.
            • Building on 100 years, Le Cordon Bleu is a leader in the culinary arts with a well-known name and quality reputation in the culinary and hospitality industry.
            • While attending, you’ll spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            3 Program(s) Found
            • First opened its doors in 1980 as the Academy of Medical Art and Business.
            • Students can choose from a variety of diploma or degree programs, as well as continuing education courses.
            • Provides programs in massage therapy, dental assisting, criminal justice, cake decorating, and more.
            • 7.5 acre campus is located in the foothills of Blue Mountain, north of Harrisburg, PA.
            • Involved with many community service organizations, including the Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank (CPBB), March of Dimes, and Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Financial Aid