Farmed vs Wild Salmon: which is better? Does it matter?

June 12, 2024

Reading time 1 minute 21 seconds

Salmon is universally known as a healthy food loaded with nutrition.  

You may think that all salmon is created equal, but the salmon’s origin is an important distinction when it comes to nutrition.

Farmed salmon is typically Atlantic salmon. Wild-caught salmon meanwhile, is usually one of five types of Pacific salmon: king, sockeye, coho, pink or chum.

USDA nutritional data shows wild-caught salmon to be a healthier choice than farm-raised. Wild-caught salmon has more minerals, less saturated fat, and less sodium than farm-raised salmon. Farm-raised salmon also contains higher concentrations of chemicals. 

Without artificial dye, the fish would be a pale grey color. Pollutant levels of PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) have shown to be 16 times higher in farmed fish than in wild fish.

Farmed salmon often live inside overcrowded pens and are fed a processed diet of fatty (often synthetic) feed. This leads to not only a lower quality of life for farmed fish but also higher prevalence of disease, which is a rarity for wild stocks. 

If you like the taste of farmed-raised salmon better than wild, try King Salmon first as you transition over to wild. You can also try canned wild salmon. Most restaurants carry farm-raised salmon because it is less expensive and more available but start asking your server if the salmon is farm-raised or wild. The more we ask, the more options become available.    

If you are interested in a personalized approach to optimize your diet that aligns with your goals, let’s chat!


Posted by Lori Fish Bard, MS, CNS, LDN

Lori is a Nutrition Coach at Sarana Health. She is passionate about helping her clients understand how their lifestyle, biochemistry, genetics, and diet affect their overall health and longevity. She holds a Masters Degree in Integrative Health and Human Clinical Nutrition from the Maryland University for Integrative Health, and is licensed as a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) and Dietitian-Nutritionist (LDN) by the Board of Dietetic Practice of the State of Maryland.


Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash