(Worldwide Except U.S. Farmed in Tank Systems, Farmed including Atlantic)
There are many environmental problems related to farming Atlantic salmon, which means it is ranked "Avoid." However, efforts to reduce some of these environmental impacts by raising fish in inland tanks have been successful. Salmon from these farms are a "Best Choice."
Farmed Salmon, Sake
The majority of salmon farmed today are Atlantic salmon. A small quantity of Pacific salmon - Chinook and coho - is also farmed. Salmon is known as sake when prepared for sushi.
Environmental Defense Fund has issued a health advisory for farmed salmon due to high levels of PCBs.
One of the biggest concerns is the amount of food required to raise farmed salmon. It generally takes three pounds of wild fish to grow one pound of farmed salmon. The environmental impact of salmon farming is still increasing as global production continues to rise.
Most salmon are farmed in open pens and cages in coastal waters. Waste from these farms is released directly into the ocean. Parasites and diseases from farmed salmon can spread to wild fish swimming near the farms and escaping farmed salmon can harm wild populations. As a result, all salmon farmed in ocean net pens get an "Avoid" ranking.
However, some salmon farmers are making changes to improve their practices. So far, one change has proven successful—raising U.S. freshwater coho using inland tank-based, closed systems. Closed systems reduce environmental risks by containing pollution, disease, parasites and reducing fish escapes and result in a "Best Choice" ranking.
Look for wild-caught salmon or clearly labeled U.S.-farmed freshwater coho salmon. For now, "Avoid" farmed Atlantic salmon.