01 December 2013

On Farm Raised Salmon

All Atlantic salmon are farm raised. All supermarket filets labeled "Wild Atlantic Salmon" come from fish farms. There are currently no legal commercial fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean. 90% of available salmon on the US market comes from Atlantic fish farms. Of this total, 30% come from hatcheries and the rest are raised in offshore aquacultures called “open net pens."

In order to maximize space up to a million salmon are crowded into the net pens. Crowded conditions, a diet of corn and soy pellets, and massive amounts of salmon excrement in the water necessitate the administering of antibiotics and pesticides to combat disease and parasites such as sea lice. Copper sulfate is also added to the water to control algae accumulation on the nets. Many net pens are placed in estuaries that historically are home to native wild salmon runs. Enormous amounts of feed and excrement escape the net pens, along with the pesticides and antibiotics, polluting these estuarine environments. Broken nets have led to farm raised salmon colonizing and crowding out native wild populations. To protect its wild salmon runs, Alaska has banned net pen salmon farms.

Not having an ocean diet of crustaceans, algae and other sea nutrients, means farm raised salmon contain none of the omega oils and carotenoids that function as potent anti-oxidants. These carotenoids also act as a natural pigment on salmon meat, responsible for the distinctive red and pink color. The corn soy pellet diet of farm raised salmon results in meat dull gray or light brown in color.

Focus group research conducted by pharmaceutical giant Hoffman-La Roche concluded that consumers connect deeply colored red salmon meat with higher quality, freshness and a better taste. Consumers shown salmon fillets matching the hues on the Hoffman-La Roche SalmoFan™ Color Wheel preferred Color 33 by a two-to-one margin. To replicate this color in farm raised salmon, Hoffman-La Roche has produced an astaxanthin pigment (petroleum based) which is added to the food pellets.


Dr. Leah M. Akins said...

It sounds like you are having a wonderful time discovering Alaska and life! I decided to "look you up" after receiving my sister/your mother's annual holiday card update. Leah (my wife) told me that you are a biker and blogger. So thanks to the miracle of the Web, here I find you. Not sure if we've spoken much if at all before this time, but I am your Uncle (wow that sounds weird) Jeff. If you ever find yourself in the mid-Hudson region of New York or the southern sections of the Green mountains in Vermont, we would enjoy a drop in to get to know this traveling man. Will gladly trade food and lodging for some stories of South America, Alaska or wherever. You certainly have travelled to the farther reaches of the Americas.

I am a bit of a reader/writer myself. If you might indulge a moment of curiosity and assuming that it is not too bold in my asking ... was your South American trip inspired by "The Motorcycle Diaries" and/or your current travels to Alaska inspired by "Into the Wild"? [both books I enjoy immensely.]

Anyway, after visiting your blog, I had to at least leave a small hello of sorts. I admire your travels and blog writing. May tomorrow bring you peace, happiness perhaps someone or something unexpected.

(PS … using my wife's google account, with her permission, to post this)

Pete said...

Hey Uncle! nice to hear from you and thanks for checking out the blog. I think we may have spoken in the past, but I was only 5 then and the conversation was probably about soccer and Star Wars. I have not read the Motorcycle Diaries (I have seen the movie), but I have read the story of Chris Mccandless. My hope is to be careful and prepared in AK, and not go out the way he did.

If/when I'm on the East Coast I'll certainly take you up on the offer and stop by to see you guys. Talking books and writing is always fun, and stories for food and lodging is always a good trade for me ;)

Happy Holidays to you and the family,

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