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Feb 11, 2014 07:28 AM

Wild salmon

I've been looking for wild salmon for some time. Is it out of season or perhaps a shortage?

Costco has the frozen wild salmon but wondering if anyone has seen fresh?

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    1. I eat a lot of (only wild) fish and used to buy only fresh. Then I started reading some articles about the fact that flash frozen on board fish can be fresher and just as tasty as fresh. This is because by the time the fisherman have gone out to sea, returned with the fresh fish, packed it, filleted it, or whatever then sent it to the markets where it is then unpacked, etc, the 'fresh' fish can be many days old. Not so with flash frozen on board fish or fish that is flash frozen after being brought back to shore.

      So, I started buy frozen wild fish, primarily at Costco and I have to say that I am very impressed. I can't even tell the difference. Actually, I just bought the Morey's Marinated Wild Pink Salmon at Costco the other day and had it and it was very good.

      I won't buy any of the frozen shrimp at Costco, though, as none of it is wild.

      If I happen to be at a fishmonger and there is a variety of wild fish that I want that I cannot get at Costco then of course I will buy it fresh, but I am not fixated on buying only wild fresh fish anymore since I did my research.

      13 Replies
      1. re: Flexitarian

        There is one type of wild shrimp at Costco (also Sobeys, Giant Tiger, and Loblaw), North Atlantic cold water shrimps. They are small, mild and pre-cooked.

        Loblaw has brought in medium sized organic farmed shrimp from Ecuador, and they seem to be on regular 'special' rotation. I have a package, not yet opened.

        1. re: jayt90

          The online group buying thing WagJag periodically has Argentine wild red shrimp listed as one of their weekly specials. I've bought it twice now and it's a very good product. The shrimp are large, shell-on, flavourful and come in packages of two 2lb. Bags for about $39 total (so about $10 lb.). You order ahead and get a voucher which you then present at a particular retailer (they have quite a few around ontario) to pick up your shrimp. I quit buying any farmed shrimp altogether so this is great for me. Can't discuss the sustainability of the fishery, unfortunately, because there's no information out there about these critters.

          1. re: Nyleve

            Wagjag is great, for seafood and The Butcher Shoppe specials. Unfortunately limited access to pick up except in GTA, Ottawa and one or two northern towns. I wish they had a London connection.

            1. re: jayt90

              I live near Peterborough so my nearest pickup is Oshawa. But I just make a shopping trip out of it.

          2. re: jayt90

            Some Loblaw locations have stopped carrying the frozen organic shrimp from Ecuador. I've also found them at some Longo's (York Mills and Leslie location has both raw and precooked available) and occasionally at some Great Canadian Superstore locations.

            1. re: jayt90

              You're right. Forgot. I bought some and have them in my freezer. I forgot to check how big they were and bought them on impulse when I saw they were wild. I was really looking for the larger ones.

              1. re: Flexitarian

                They need to be sauced, as they are soggy. I've had them from several stores, hoping for better ones but I think they are overcooked ; I hope the plant in Eastern Canada is aware of changing tastes.
                It would be nice to see fresh or frozen St. Lawrence shrimp in Ontario.

                1. re: jayt90

                  Agree that the coldwater shrimp from Costco are soggy. I didn't know what you meant until I prepared them. The shrimp had been thawed then rinsed, and drained in a colander for 30 minutes, but brought a significant amount of liquid to the stew to which they were added. I'll attempt to press the liquid out with a heavy plate while draining, if I purchase them again.

                  1. re: prima

                    Are they treated with sodium tripolyphosphate? If yes, it would be listed as an ingredient. that's what usually contributed so sogginess in seafood.

                    1. re: acd123

                      Costco has a no stp policy wrt scallops, cannot imagine they'd accept it in shrimp. I buy the blue bags of frozen, uncooked shrimp there, and as long as I defrost them thorougly, drain and blot, they don't water down the sauces I add them to at all. Good texture.

                      1. re: mcf

                        I've bought shrimp from Costco and Loblaws (PC Brand). Compared to fresh shrimp, both pale in comparison but I find PC brand lately really bad. Mushy, black spots... I had to throw the bag away. The Kirkland brands are consistently much higher quality. They're cleaner, have less ice in the bags, and good texture. My favourite is still frozen raw Canadian wild shrimp but I haven't seen that in a while.

                      2. re: acd123

                        Not sure. I already discarded the packaging.

                      3. re: prima

                        Read on the internet about sodium tripolyphosphate as it is used with fish and seafood.

              2. I've seen personally where farm raised king salmon fillets were passed off and sold as wild caught salmon

                Won't mention the store (don't want to be libellous, as I don't have physical proof), but I worked there myself and was in that department.

                5 Replies
                1. re: dachopstix

                  Libel is only libel if what you say is not true, but if what you are saying is true and can be proven it cannot be libel. But, of course, you say you do not have physical proof. I don't know how a fishmonger can live with themselves by committing such fraud on unsuspecting customers who think they are getting something healthier and therefore paying a premium for it.

                  But how did you know the salmon was not wild? Because it was labelled as farmed and the store then advertised it as wild instead? This was not a result of a mistake but was intentional?

                  NYTimes had an article (and many others have appeared elsewhere) showing that more than 50% of fish sold in NY City (both in restaurants and stores) was falsely labelled as wild. They found out by genetic testing which is the only way to test for this.

                  1. re: Flexitarian

                    Hey Flex,

                    Exactly - the box's label clearly stated farmed king salmon fillets, and it was being labelled and sold in store as wild caught pacific coho salmon fillets. It was a supermarket, not an independent fishmonger. I never thought to take pictures of it, nor brought it up because I was still employed. To be honest, I forgot the whole situation until I read this thread.

                    1. re: Flexitarian

                      Have you ever heard of fish being thrown away because it was too old?

                        1. re: Flexitarian

                          If you have the whole salmon in front of you, you can easily tell if it's wild or farmed, as the wild variety has a much more developed tail fin.

                      1. Only available frozen til about April to Oct or Nov.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mcf

                          Okay, but I urge you to report it to local authorities.

                        2. For the past few weeks I have been buying Wild Chinook Salmon from Diana's.
                          It is truly delicious.
                          My standby has been Wild Irish Salmon also from Diana's but have not seen it for a while.
                          Except for making Gravlox, I now prefer the Chinook.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: erly

                            One of the other tricks retailers try is to switch one fish for another. Of course you can't switch whitefish for salmon but salmon for salmon or whitefish for whitefish.

                            DIana's is great because the heads are on the fish and therefore if you are knowledgeable enough you can identify the fish by looking at it which of course you cannot do with just a filet, even if the skin is still on. And, yes, they do clean the fish at request and take the heads off if you want. I just wish Diana's wasn't so far away from me as I live in DT Toronto.

                            1. re: Flexitarian

                              A wee factoid - freshwater Whitefish is in fact a member of the Salmon family.

                              1. re: DockPotato

                                Wow, I didn't know that but the flesh is not pink.

                                1. re: Flexitarian

                                  pink might mean artificial food additives.....wild trout, a salmon relation, is not pink...

                                  1. re: Raffles

                                    I meant the whitefish flesh is never pink

                                    1. re: Flexitarian

                                      Sorry, Flex, I read, "...wild trout, a salmon relation, is not pink..." and so was puzzled.

                                      Please take no offence.

                                    2. re: Raffles

                                      "...wild trout, a salmon relation, is not pink..."

                                      Every wild Trout I've ever caught has coloured flesh: Brook Trout are saffron coloured; Rainbow range from deep pink to red depending on season and Lake Trout can be orange to a subdued pink depending on the lake. Brown Trout are generally deep orange. Lake Huron spring Coho are deep red.

                                      If you encounter any wild Salmonid (except Whitefish) with pale-coloured flesh it's probably unfit for consumption as it was taken at the end of spawning when all bodily resources go into the act of reproduction. The meat tastes bloody awful. In many cases the living fish itself is in a state pf putrefaction.

                                      On the plate a perfect Salmonid (freshwater that is) is a pleasant pink when cooked. Except Whitefish. For clarification, "Salmonidae" include all Trout, Salmon and Char species.

                                      A photo shows what a wild, prime Lake Huron Rainbow looks like - about a 5 lb. fish as I recall. That beast was actually redder than a Coho but not by much.

                                      For comparison I show 2 pans of Lake Trout fillets which are lighter and more orange in colour. In latter years Lakers have been shofting to more pink as the strain stocked by MNR seems to be reverting to type or interbreeding with original stock (my unsuported opinion).