Seafood Watch - Seafood Guide

Salmon

© B. Guild Gillespie/www.chartingnature.com
SEAFOODRATINGMARKET NAMESLOCATION/CERTIFICATIONHOW CAUGHT/FARMED
Salmon Best Choice: These fish are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Chinook, Coho, Chum, Keta, King, Pink, Red, Silver & Sockeye Salmon, Sake Alaska Drift Gillnet, Purse Seine, Troll
Salmon Good Alternative: These are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed – or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts. Chinook, Coho, Chum, Keta, King, Pink, Red, Silver & Sockeye Salmon, Sake California, Oregon, Washington Drift Gillnet, Purse Seine, Troll
Salmon Good Alternative: These are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed – or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts. Pink & Sockeye Salmon Fraser River, Washington Reefnet
Salmon Best Choice: These fish are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Sockeye Salmon Fraser River (early Summer-run), Washington Reefnet
Salmon Good Alternative: These are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed – or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts. Chum, Pink, Chinook, Coho & Sockeye Salmon, Sake Marine Stewardship Council Certified Wild
Salmon Roe Best Choice: These fish are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Ikura Alaska Drift Gillnet, Purse Seine, Troll
Salmon, Atlantic Avoid: Avoid these products for now. These fish come from sources that are overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm the environment. Farmed Salmon, Sake Worldwide Farmed
Salmon, Atlantic: Verlasso (R) Good Alternative: These are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed – or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts. Verlasso (R) Chile Farmed
Salmon, Coho Good Alternative: These are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed – or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts. Sake, Silver Salmon Canadian Pacific Wild
Salmon, Coho Best Choice: These fish are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Sake, Silver Salmon U.S. Farmed in Tank Systems


Salmon, Wild, U.S. West Coast

Fishery management is especially important for salmon, which require freshwater and ocean habitats to survive. Wild salmon populations in Washington, Oregon and California are moderately healthy. When caught with drift gillnet, purse seine or troll, these fish are a "Good Alternative." The "Best Choice" in wild salmon is from Alaska.

Consumer Note

Buyer beware! Different species of salmon are sold under many market names - and several are available from farmed and wild sources. Be sure to use our recommendations to find the "Best Choices." Salmon is known as sake when prepared for sushi.

Health Alert

Environmental Defense Fund has issued a consumption advisory for salmon caught off the Washington coast due to elevated levels of PCBs.

Summary

Salmon populations in California, Oregon and Washington have declined dramatically as a result of habitat loss, climatic shifts, historic overfishing and other factors. Salmon are born in freshwater then migrate to the ocean where they grow and mature before being caught. When freshwater rivers and streams are damaged or destroyed through dam construction, water diversions, deforestation and urban development, salmon populations are impacted.

In California, Oregon and Washington nearly 30 populations of salmon and steelhead are on the Endangered Species List. These endangered fish are unintentionally caught by fishermen who are targeting other salmon populations.

Salmon from the Columbia River make up most of the catch in northern Oregon and Washington. These fisheries have generally met management goals in recent years and the stock is moderately healthy. Salmon from the Sacramento River make up most of the catch in southern Oregon and California. These stocks have declined in recent years, but the population increased and met management goals in 2010.

Therefore, salmon caught in California, Oregon and Washington with drift gillnet, purse seine or troll gear are considered a "Good Alternative."


Recipe Alternatives
Seafood Watch recommends wild-caught salmon from Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington as these are ocean-friendly choices. “Avoid” salmon farmed in open net pens. Salmon farmed on land in “closed” or “contained” farms is a viable alternative that points the way to a more environmentally-friendly future for salmon farming.

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How fish are caught or farmed makes a difference. Fishing boat