Salmon for Sushi

By Master Dragon
Salmon for Sushi
All About the Salmon in Your Sushi

Salmon are a group of fish that are well known for their delicious taste, especially when eaten raw in sushi. There are a variety of species, including the pink salmon and the Atlantic salmon. Most species are born and spawn in fresh water, but live the rest of their lives in saltwater. It is one of the most popular fish to eat, as it has a high protein content and high Omega 3 content. Much of the salmon used in sushi is farmed Atlantic salmon, although it is possible to find wild caught salmon nigiri or rolls. There are different advantages and disadvantages to both types of fish.

Many salmon fisheries, especially those providing wild caught salmon to the United States, are located in Alaska and Canada. Salmon populations are in flux in some areas of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, but the populations are still high in Alaska. Many people are against the catching of wild salmon, as it has been proving to damage ecosystems and deplete the natural population if done incorrectly. However, wild caught salmon tend to have less pesticides or other pollution built up in their bodies. They also have more wildly varying levels of Omega 3s, due to a greater variety in their diets.

Salmon farms and hatcheries have grown recently as the world demand for the fish has risen. Most farms are located in Norway, Chile, Scotland, Canada, and the Faroe Islands. Almost 99% of all farmed salmon is Atlantic salmon. The fish must be fed a meal composed of other wild caught fish, as salmon are carnivorous. This can cause a problem to local populations of other fish, as a farm requires 2-4 kgs of food to produce one kg of salmon. To combat this, some hatcheries only raise the fish to a juvenile state, then release them. 

This means anyone can catch the fish, but it does raise wild salmon levels and puts less of a strain on local resources. One issue with eating farm raised salmon, although it can be more environmentally safe than wild caught, is the high levels of dioxins and PCB in the fish. These build ups are thought to be cause by pesticides used on the fish meal. But farm raised salmon has higher and more stable levels of Omega 3s.

One way to tell farmed and wild caught salmon meat apart is the color. Healthy wild caught salmon has a deep orange red color, while farmed salmon has a very orange or light pink color. Farmed fish do not get the right pigments from the meal they are fed, so farmers add unnatural pigment to the food as most people do not want to eat white salmon. If the salmon meat you are being served or considering buying in a store has brown or faded edges, or looks dried out around the edges, do not eat it. It may be in the process of going rancid. The average cost of wild caught salmon, fresh, is around $8-12 a pound for King or Chinook salmon. Farmed salmon remains lower, at $6-9 a pound

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More like this: Sushi, Salmon, Nigiri, Omega 3, Fish Stuff