HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


Wild vs Raised (aka Atlantic) Salmon

  • f

The evidence seems to grow, alas, rather than diminish, on the negative ecological effects raised salmon have on the environment and on wild salmon, since apparently salmon-raising is done adjacent to the waters wild salmon traverse.

I realize everyone must make his/her decision on whether sybaritic pleasures trump other issues; I just hope those who have been choosing to ignore this problem take the time to read sources such as Monterey Bay Aquarium or the magazine "Eating Well"--to name only two--on the urgency of this particular matter.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've eaten wild salmon for so long I no longer enjoy the taste/texture of farmed salmon. I'll eat farmed salmon if it's being served for dinner by someone, but other than that I keep my distance.

    1 Reply
    1. re: olyolyy

      I feel about the same. However, unless it's Scottish, I am much less a fan of "Atlantic," farm, or wild, than Wild Alaskan salmon.

      Maybe it's just my tastes?


    2. I've eaten Wild Alaska King/preferably white all my life...living in the Pacific Northwest, for most of it.
      I will not eat farm raised no matter who prepares it. The taste is completely different and I'd rather go without.

      1 Reply
      1. re: latindancer

        I agree, regarding the taste. Same goes for Atlantic, though "Scottish" Atlantic Salmon does come closer. My palate leans heavily to fresh Pacific wild.

        The flavors and textures are different - sort of like Gulf Blue Crabs vs Chesapeake Bay Crabs.


      2. Yeah, I feel the same way as everyone else. I prefer the truly Wild Alaskan stuff. I'm not a fan of the ecological/geopolitical aspects of the farmed stuff, but I have to admit if it tasted better, I wouldn't care about the other aspects and I'd probably eat it.

        It should be noted that "Atlantic" does not refer to where it comes from. In virtually every case, at least in the US, if it says Atlantic, it just means it's farm-raised, even if it comes from pens on the West Coast.

        1. How do you know if you're eating wild salmon or farm raised salmon?

          7 Replies
          1. re: nuraman00

            They are completely different fish IMO

            1. re: nuraman00

              If you've had both, you would know.

              It's like asking how you would know the difference between Tang and fresh squeezed orange juice.

              You would know. Trust me, you would know.

              Nothing wrong with Tang, per se, but it's not orange juice - fresh squeezed or otherwise.

              1. re: nuraman00

                The grocery store or fish market should indicate farm-raised or wild-caught. If in doubt, ask.

                1. re: Gizmo56

                  you'd also know if you paid for it. Wild caught is usually much more expensive

                  1. re: splatgirl

                    In my case, that is usually true. However, I have had some, that was not (by my palate), what was claimed. That, unfortunately, goes for much of the protein, that is sold. A side-note to all butchers, or fish-mongers - honesty is the best policy!


                2. re: nuraman00

                  Well, first I read the "details," but then rely on my palate. I have never failed to nail the "sea-of-origin."

                  Maybe I have been fortunate to have a reliable fish-monger for my salmon?


                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    Who also has an honest,careful broker.The fish-monger isn't always at fault.

                3. Have any of you had wild smoked salmon vs farmed? Supposedly farmed tastes better. I've had both, and I have to admit, I do like the texture of farmed more. The wild salmon seems to fall apart more. I buy Ducktrap brand which are very highly rated, and compared their wild to their farmed.

                  I don't mind Scottish or Norwegian farmed salmon, but I won't eat it from anywhere else.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Tudor_rose

                    Ducktrap makes a wonderful smoke roasted salmon to which I became very attached. The Hannaford supermarkets stopped carrying it about two years ago and now aren't even able to special order it for me anymore. I believe it was wild-caught but can't be 100% certain. Very tasty stuff indeed!

                  2. We're the human race. Our very existence is the single worst thing that ever happened to the environment. So either turn vegan or get over it and eat whatever you want. Farming salmon definitely has negative environmental consequences. So does farming almost every other form of livestock, including the mostly hairless large apes that have overrun the planet.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: emu48

                      I can't share that view: I believe we have brains so that we can evaluate evidence, decide what we consider important, than act on it.

                      It sounds more like an excuse for indulging one's pleasures and avoiding any need to take responsibility for one's actions. Certainly not an unfamiliar attitude, just, as I said, not one I can share.

                      1. re: emu48

                        I have yet to dine on any "hairless ape," so maybe they do taste different.

                        With some critters, I have enjoyed "farmed" versions, like shrimp, and talipia, but salmon has proved to be a different "fish," farmed vs wild - at least for me.


                      2. Any fish that needs "color added" is repulsive.


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: FishTales

                          Remember Jethro Tull ?

                          Ages ago I worked as an Engineer in London for a few years, and went up to Ian Anderson's Smoked Salmon business / investment one weekend on Skye. Really an excellent product called Straththaird, but limited regionally at the time. He signed a few Cd's for me, and since he also owned Rimowa, one of my luggage cases, as a joke. His philosophy was to keep it small as a product, with limited distribution.

                          The locals were quite enthusiastic about it, and it all came from farm pens. Anderson employed quite a few of the locals on Skye and at Inverness. I brought a few pounds worth back at Christmas and it was gone in a flash. Many said it was the best they ever had..

                          1. re: SWISSAIRE

                            Wow, a Rimowa full of salmon - sounds like a deal. That would be especially true, if there was flute music, to dine by. Now, if one needed an "aqualung" to farm the salmon...

                            Did not realize that Ian Anderson was ever in the food industry. Thank you for the info. Maybe next time in the UK, I will look a bit, as I think that I own everything that Jethro Tull ever recorded, and in several different formats. Guess that being a fan in the US does not expose one to the full portfolio of certain performers? Cannot forget "Back to the Family," and then"Another Christmas Song," for JT culinary references.

                            Heck, I need to schedule a dinner with Mike Oldfield and Ian Anderson, next time in the UK, and I will pick up the tab - just to sit and listen, and to learn.


                        2. I'm smoking some Spring salmon right now. I've had fresh caught wild Atlantic salmon a few times a I think it's excellent. Tried 'farmed' Atlantic salmon a couple of times. I wouldn't insult my cat feeding any farmed salmon to it.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Puffin3

                            While I might agree with you, I have a suspicion that your cat might be more lenient - or maybe not?


                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              Our cats are very attuned to factory farmed,the mynahs even more so.There are a tiny few farming clean on a small scale etc that pass muster.

                          2. To some degree I think its generational. Those of us with a little age grew up on wild caught seafood and often find farm raised products bland. Many younger folks who grew up eating farm raised think wild caught is to strong. I think the farm raised also appeals to many health conscious folks who may not like the flavor of fish and overpower it with other flavorings anyway. I can say with confidence that most folks on this site including myself would choose wild but we are a small group and we might be shocked at a survey of the general population.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Tom34

                              Hm-m-m. Could be? I had never thought of that possibility.

                              I grew up with fresh seafood, from the Gulf of Mexico. Way back then, there were no "seasons," and we ate, what we caught. We also often fished with shrimp, that would never be used as "bait" nowadays, as they were extremely large (only 8 per dozen... ), and all was tasty.

                              Yes, things have probably changed.


                            2. Visited a fish/turkey farm once in Oregon. Huge area. Lots of tanks of trout. Lots of pens of turkeys. They were basically feeding turkey droppings to the trout in pellet form and feeding the guts and heads of the trout to the turkeys in pellet form. YUM! The trout tasted like turkey and the turkey tasted like trout.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Puffin3

                                Great story. Rough day & didn't really have a good laugh until I read your post. Thanks! Did they really taste like they ate each other? Still laughing!!!!!

                              2. At sushi restaurants, they often do not specify whether the salmon is farmed or wild, but I always just assume that it is farmed since it usually has very thick white lines of fat. (I am speaking of the usual neighborhood sushi place not a sushi experience akin to Jiro sushi). Is this a pretty safe distinguishing factor between wild and farmed?

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  In my experience, the farmed atlantic tends to be rather orange coloured in flesh. Wild tends to be pinker/redder. Definitely the taste is different, you should've seen the face my 8 year old niece made when she had farmed atlantic when she grew up eating wild Pacific. Priceless...

                                  1. re: bdachow

                                    the texture is quite different as well. Farmed is mooshy when raw, more tender (or mooshy) when cooked. Wild caught is firmer both cooked and raw, IME.