Wild or farmed: which fish is better to choose?

In a world where we can get almost any type of food from land or sea, shipped from almost anywhere in the world, it can be difficult to track safety and benefits. There is a lot of talk about whether farmed fish is safe and healthy for the human body. And also that wild-caught fish taste better and contain more nutrients than their aquaculture counterparts.

To help you, we decided to delve deeper into this topic and find out which is healthier – wild-caught or farm-raised fish?

The puzzle is how to turn an ocean of information into something useful without leaving anything important out.


The composition of wild and farmed fish of the same species is largely similar. Protein content varies slightly. More variable is the difference in fat content. This is due to the fact that fish feeds have a higher fat content than wild fish diets. The omega-3 essential fatty acid content of farmed and wild fish varies slightly, with the average omega-3 content of farmed fish being slightly higher.

Aquacultured fish

Aquaculture is the breeding and cultivation of aquatic organisms (fish, crustaceans, mollusks, algae) in natural and artificial reservoirs, as well as on specially created marine plantations. Grown commercially to make fish cheaper and more accessible for public consumption.

The low quality of aquaculture products is largely due to the fact that they are fed low-quality feed. In the case of salmon farming, the fish food also contains food coloring, which gives the salmon its pink color. Due to their limited diet, farmed fish are naturally gray in color. Wild salmon are pink because they eat small crustaceans.

Wild caught fish

Wild caught fish are caught by fishermen in their natural habitat – rivers, seas, lakes, oceans, etc. The main advantage of wild salmon is that the fish simply eats the organisms found in their existing aquatic habitat, which is more diverse.

Also, wild fish does not contain antibiotics and is not subject to the same risk of disease or infection as aquacultured seafood.

So, farmed salmon can in many cases be just as nutritious as its wild counterparts, and in many cases can be richer than wild salmon in terms of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids . Farmed seafood contains more omegas than wild-raised fish due to its higher fat content. On the other hand, wild fish are full of trace minerals found in the oceans.

As for shellfish, the difference is minimal, since their cultivation is usually done in the ocean, and not in separate tanks.

There is also a myth that the color of a fish is a direct reflection of its nutritional value. This is not 100% accurate. The color is a reflection of the diet as well as the type of fish. Wild salmon that feed on krill tend to turn pink as the krill eat the red algae. Atlantic salmon is naturally pale orange in color, while sockeye salmon is dark red.

Wild and aquaculture fish are very similar, generally safe to eat, and quality tested. You should buy them from a trusted supermarket or from a trusted, well-known direct supplier.


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