Salmon is one of the most popular fish in the U.S., adored for its sweet-yet-earthy taste and richness in Omega 3's. But what are the differences between Atlantic salmon and Pacific salmon? Farmed salmon vs. wild caught salmon? How do these factors impact salmon’s taste, nutrition, and cost?
Wild Caught Salmon vs Farmed Salmon: What’s the Difference?
There are seven species of Pacific salmon, five of which live in North American waters: Chinook, chum, coho, pink and sockeye. Masu and amago - also Pacific salmon species - only live in Asian waters. Atlantic salmon - or Salmo salmar - is only available farm-raised to U.S. seafood consumers. Taste profiles and fish size vary by species, with the Chinook or King salmon being the largest, and most prized for its smooth, melting texture. Many seafood aficionados agree that Chinook is the best quality of the wild Pacific salmons, due to its high fat content and rich flavors. Wild-caught Pacific salmon are harvested in many countries along the Pacific Ocean.
Almost all of commercial Atlantic salmon (Salmo salmar) available in the U.S. is farmed, most heavily in the US states of Washington and Maine, alongside international production in Canada, Norway, and Chile. Atlantic salmon are rare in the wild. Since Atlantic salmon are available for harvest year-round, whereas Pacific salmon are only available for harvest June through September, availability and price are key differences between Atlantic and Pacific salmon.
Salmon farming began in Norway in the 1960s as an attempt to supplement wild salmon stock, which had declined due to overfishing and environmental factors. Now, salmon farming is a well-recognized tool for producing healthy, nutritious salmon to feed the world. FultonFishMarket.com supports responsible, sustainable fish farming, and we are proud of our clear product labeling that helps customers understand exactly where their fish were caught or raised. Here’s the dish on the real differences between wild caught salmon and farmed salmon:
- Nutrition: Farmed salmon has higher fat content, as well as more Omega-3s. It also has 46% more calories — mostly from fat. Wild salmon delivers more minerals, including potassium, zinc and iron.
- Taste: Some taste tests have indicated that farmed salmon actually tastes better than wild salmon - like this Washington Post tasting or this salmon taste test in Germany last year. But individual tastes will vary, and some claim that wild-caught salmon is always more delicious. Atlantic Salmon generally have a milder flavor than wild Pacific salmon, with medium-firm flesh, and large flakes.
- Cost: Farm-raised salmon can be harvested year-round, making prices for farmed salmon generally lower than prices for wild-caught salmon, which is only available during certain months of the year. Check out the pricing detail below for details.
FultonFishMarket.com delivers Atlantic and Pacific salmon to your doorstep. Here are the basics on our selection, including cost differences:
Farmed Salmon Delivery: Atlantic Salmon from FultonFishMarket.com
- Farmed Atlantic Sapphire Salmon, Denmark -- $17.50/piece or $93.66/fish. The Sapphire salmon are raised in a "Bluehouse" -- a greenhouse for fish -- ensuring ideal conditions and the lowest environmental impact.
- Farmed Atlantic Salmon, Scotland -- $15.00/piece or $108.00/fish. Atlantic salmon are prized for their delicate flavor and tender consistency.
- Farmed Fulton Fresh Salmon, Faroe Islands, Denmark -- $15.00/piece or $108.00/fish. Atlantic salmon are prized for their delicate flavor and tender consistency.
- Farmed Ora King Salmon, New Zealand -- $17.50/piece or $270.00/fish. King salmon's higher oil content provides an elegantly soft, buttery texture that's complex yet delicate.
Wild Caught Salmon Delivery -- Pacific Salmon from FultonFishMarket.com
- Fresh Wild Alaskan Ivory King Salmon -- $25.00/piece. Ivory King salmon are creamy white, not pink like other salmon.
- Superfrozen Alaskan King Salmon, Copper River -- $90.00/paired pieces or $300.00/fillet. King salmon has an elegant balance of savory flavor with a soft, buttery texture.
- Wild Alaskan King Salmon -- $36.95/piece or $440.55/fish. This Chinook species is the largest species of salmon, with a robust red color and full-bodied flavor.
- Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon -- $10.00/piece or $77.20/fish. The Sockeye salmon has the most pronounced flavor of all salmon varieties, with brilliantly red flesh.