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Farmed Fish or Free?

For tens of millions of years, perhaps for hundreds of millions of years, salmon have been swimming the oceans and returning to remote rivers to breed. Now they are kept in crowded cages in lakes or on the edge of the shore. If they were furry animals which could squeak and cry in pain, this would not be allowed, but as it’s only fish, who cares?

Apart from the intolerable living conditions, the food they are fed is also different. So how healthy is the final product?

As plastic products get disposed of, billions of small particles of plastic float around the oceans. These are now found in fish and our food supply. They can be highly toxic and their affect is cumulative.

There is a world-wide infestation of sea lice which infects fish and causes a high mortality. Fish farmers combat this with chemicals, pesticides and antibiotics. Excessive use of antibiotics is known to create bacterial resistance in fish and humans. Many chemicals remain in the fish and become part of the food supply.

Farmed salmon are fed fish meal, often containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other toxins linked to cancer.

Salmon in the wild are pink in colour because a major part of their diet is atlantic prawns. To achieve a similar colour, farmed salmon are fed an artificial colouring.

Farmed salmon has around three times the fat of wild salmon. Unfortunately, most of it is omega 6 which most people get too much of already.

The excessive use of chemicals and large amounts of faeces from salmon farms damage the local environment, affecting both plants and other animals.

The stressful environment in which the salmon live increases their cortisol levels, which gets past on to consumers.
Farmed salmon frequently escape, with the viruses and parasites they suffer from being spread into the wild fish. The two varieties breed affecting the genetic make-up of the wild stock.

The function of the endocrine glands in the human body is to supply the bloodstream with hormones. Research suggests that all the chemical additives in farmed salmon affect this function, a state of affairs which can be past on to the next generation. Synthetic additives have a long half-life so will stay around for a long time, resulting in obesity and cancers.

The message is, although farmed salmon can provide some good food value, don’t consume it too often.
If the budget allows, stick to wild salmon.