Commercial Salmon Farming

Commercial Salmon Farming

Fertilized Atlantic salmon eggs are taken to a quarantine facility, where they are kept for two weeks to make sure they are disease free and to check their DNA. Then they go to a hatchery, where they are kept in oxygenated fresh water that is purified to remove waste. They are fed a herring-based fish meal, and once they reach a certain length (about six inches), they are transferred to larger pens, either in seawater in coastal cages, or in enormous fiberglass tanks. The fish continue to get feed, and are not treated with antibiotics unless they are sick. After eighteen months, the fish are ready to harvest.

In addition to their distinctive flavor, both wild and farmed salmon are good sources of protein; omega-3 fatty acids; vitamins A, B, D, E; potassium; iodine; and selenium. In the American wild, salmon feed on herring and smelt (East Coast) or shrimp and krill (West Coast). In captivity, salmon are fed pellets that include fishmeal and oils. The amount of omega-3 teh salmon end up with varies, but most experts agree that farmed salmon that eat a high-quality feed -- with plenty of fish components -- have omega-3 levels comparable to those of their wild counterparts.

Fresh wild salmon is seasonal, but because farmed salmon is harvested upon demand, it is available fresh year-round.

Salmon is one of our most versatile fish, adapting well to any cooking method (even steaming, poaching, or grilling) because of its high fat content, which also makes it a forgiving choice for inexperienced cooks because it stays moist even when overcooked. You can substitute arctic char for salmon in virtually any recipe.

From the "Legal Sea Foods Cookbook" by Roger Berkowitz and Jane Doerfer, Illustrated by Edward Koren

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