Atlantic salmon was once considered a rare delicacy, but in just 20 years it’s become a staple on Australian tables. With wild salmon a known ‘super-food’, is farmed Tasmanian salmon a safe alternative?
These farmed fish are often fed ‘fish meal’ that often contains wheat by-products, soy, corn gluten, meat by-product meal and blood meal and sometimes even pesticides. They are also fed vegetable oils, all of which the salmon cannot naturally metabolise effectively. As you can see, their diets lack a number of nutrients naturally found in the wild.
This lack of natural nutrition can be illustrated by the fact that farmed salmon are supplemented by an additive (a popular choice is canthaxanthin – a dye associated with retinal/eye damage), to artificially colour them various shades of “wild” pink.
- LESS GOOD FATS, MORE BAD FATSNot surprisingly, many assessments have found fewer omega-3s (good fats) per kg in farmed salmon compared with wild salmon. In addition, the farmed stuff also comes with a hefty (not healthy) wallop of other fats including omega-6s.
According to the 7.30 Report in 2009: “Figures published by the fishing industry show that in the years 2006 to 2008 almost 18 TONNES OF ANTIBIOTICS oxytetracycline and amoxicillin were fed to Tasmanian salmon. The majority appears to have been used by the dominant company Tassal
The only other significant company, Huon Aquaculture, says it only used two of the 18 tonnes. Huon Aquaculture also stated that in 2009, they had been antibiotic free for the last 18 months. While the industry stresses that it flushes and tests the fish before they are sold to ensure there is no antibiotic contamination passed on to humans, the health of the fish in general is of great concern
- LACKING NATURAL IMMUNITY
Tasmanian Salmon farmers are searching for a cure to a common illness that strikes farmed fish called Amoebic Gill Disease or AGD. Wild fish have a natural resistance to the disease suggesting that some farmed fish suffer malnourishment and hence, lack natural immunity.
- CONCERNS OF TOXICITY
Finally, a Marine Toxicology and Pollution in Tasmania report stated the following: High levels of total PBDE’s (compounds that are used as flame retardant) were found in a small sampling of Tasmanian farmed salmon.The levels reported to be double the highest PBDEs residue levels detected in a recent study of Great Lakes salmon in North America.