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Factory Farmed Salmon Full of Disease and Hazardous Chemicals

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

Story at-a-glance -

  • Record levels of mortalities were uncovered on Scottish fish farms in 2017 — 25,000 tons amounting to an estimated 15 million to 20 million farmed salmon, which is a mortality rate of 26.7 percent
  • The mortalities appear to be on the rise, increasing from 5,000 tons in 2002 and 10,000 tons in 2011
  • The Scottish Parliament's Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee issued a report that found a host of concerning issues surrounding farmed salmon and concluded the industry could “cause irrecoverable damage to the environment” if said issues were not addressed
  • Farmed salmon is Scotland’s biggest food export, bringing in more than $789 million annually, and the industry is set to expand from a volume of 163,000 tons in 2016 to 200,000 tons in 2020

Salmon is the second most popular type of seafood in the U.S. (shrimp is the first), with just over 2 pounds consumed annually, per person. While many love its flavor, a key reason behind its popularity has to do with its perceived health benefits. As a rich source of beneficial animal-based omega-3 fats, salmon can, indeed, be a very healthy food choice.

However, it can also be among the worst food choices, and the difference lies in the details. While wild-caught Alaskan salmon is an example of good-for-you salmon, rich in healthy fats and low in pollutants, farm-raised salmon is not. Unfortunately, farm-raised makes up 75 percent of the salmon consumed worldwide, and its volume has increased nearly 1,000 percent from 1990 to 2015.


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