Did you know that most if not all fish sold in Australian supermarkets comes from fish farms? Atlantic salmon is one of the most commonly eaten fish and what we eat in Australia is predominantly farmed. In fact, Atlantic (or Tasmanian) salmon is the most commonly farmed fish. This production method is a cruel game and they are often called the battery hens of the sea. Salmon are carnivorous, feeding off microalgae and small fish. Farmed salmon, on the other hand, are fed fish meal, wheat byproducts, soybean meal and feather meal. Because they are not eating their natural food they have very low levels of omega 3. Fifty percent of world fish oil production is actually fed to farmed salmon to raise their levels of omega 3! They are also fed carotenoids so that their flesh colour matches wild salmon.
The other concern is their level of antibiotics. Industry figures show that from 2006 to 2008 almost 18 tonnes of the antibiotics Oxytetracycline and Amoxicillin were fed to Tasmanian salmon. In the wild, diseases and parasites are normally at low levels, and mostly kept in check by natural predation. In crowded net pens they are susceptible to disease epidemics resulting in the extensive use of dangerous chemicals including ivermectin, emamectin benzoate, oxytetracycline, florfenicol, Romet 30, sulfadimethoxine and ormetoprim, sulfadiazine and trimethoprim, tricaine methanesulfonate, formaldehyde, florfenicol and hydrogen peroxide, as well as copper antifouling agents.
Farmed salmon is also high in contaminants. A 2004 study, reported in Science, analysed farmed and wild salmon for organochlorine contaminants and found they were higher in farmed salmon. Farmed salmon have been genetically modified in laboratories so they can grow faster. It is a cruel game for the salmon and for us, the consumer. Choose to eat wild sockeye salmon – you know this is wild as it cannot be farmed. [Source: Anthea Koullouros, “I am Food“]
When choosing seafood, always ask where it came from. Select wild caught seafood to avoid the concentrated toxins found in farmed varieties.