How Norwegian Farm Raised Salmon are Killing Your Sushi

Farm Raised Salmon vs. Wild Caught
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In a clean environment, fish is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Most fish is rich in protein, vitamin D, and omega 3 – all essential nutrients for losing weight, increasing performance, and being bulletproof! Unfortunately, because of the Norwegian-led fish-farming industry and modern pollution, its no longer safe to assume you’re eating a nutritious, disease and poison-free fish… unless you know exactly where it came from.

Long story short: Avoid farm raised salmon and fish the same way you avoid industrial red meat, insist on wild-caught sockeye salmon, and boycott Norwegian fish products because their global fish farms have killed 90% of local healthy salmon populations, including the ones 15 minutes from my house. Bastards!

Why wild caught salmon are a godsend, while farm raised salmon are a curse

Wild caught sockeye salmon is one of the most Bulletproof foods:

  1. One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids – Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to a healthy diet because the body is incredibly bad at manufacturing them on its own, and we know that omega-3 fatty acids upgrade the body by reducing inflammation, helping to reduce the impact of excess omega-6, improving blood circulation, optimizing blood pressure, and healing scar tissue.1
  2. Great source of protein – Wild caught fish provides high-quality, complete proteins that contain all the necessary amino acid building blocks to build and replace protein in the body. Sockeye salmon actually has slightly more protein than other fish like haddock. Wild caught salmon also tend to have less fat striations compared to farm raised salmon because wild caught fish are healthier, fitter fish overall (See picture above).2
  3. Highest amounts of antioxidants – Many of the plankton that sockeye salmon eat are bright red (an indicator of high antioxidant content), which is why sockeye salmon have such a bright, deep orange color compared to other salmon (See picture above).3
  4. Lowest mercury count – Wild caught sockeye salmon have the lowest mercury levels than any other salmon. Its mercury content is extremely low because it lives for a short time in mostly fresh water, and unlike other types of salmon, it eats only plankton – not other fish, which would expose it to the mercury that those fish absorbed.4
  5. It’s NOT farmed-raised fish – To AVOID mercury, other toxins, and unknown viruses as much as possible, it’s important to stay AWAY from farm raised fish and choose to buy fish that was caught in the wild.

Farm raised fish are a curse on salmon species, food supplies, ecosystems, and potentially our own health. Here’s why5:

  1. Fed soy and poultry litter – Farmed salmon in particular is fed soy and rendered poultry litter (that’s used for henhouse bedding, complete with chicken manure!). Farm-raised fish are also fed conventionally grown grains that contain harmful pesticides and mycotoxins and are probably GMOs.
  2. Universally lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids – Like commercial beef, farm-raised fish is often raised on grain feed. This results in the omega-3 fatty acids becoming malformed and mostly devoid of benefit.
  3. Given high doses of pesticides and antibiotics – A lot like concentrated animal-feeding operations (CAFOs), thousands of farm raised fish are crammed into pens, which leads to the growth of diseases and parasites that require antibiotics and pesticides.
  4. Disease carrying monsters! – On offshore fish farms, nitrogen and phosphorous from feed and waste lead to algae blooms that create breeding grounds for bacteria, viruses, and diseases. These algae blooms almost always contaminate surrounding waters where native or wild fish live.

Norwegian companies are to blame for disappearance of 90% BC’s wild salmon

In the last decade in British Columbia (where I live), the count of wild sockeye salmon has fallen 90%. These native sockeye salmon are dying mysteriously before they even have the opportunity to spawn. This pre-spawn mortality is epidemic and is basically killing an entire keystone species of salmon. Over 10 million fish have vanished without a trace.6

While investigating this mysterious travesty, researchers and biologists like Alexandra Morton discovered that BC’s wild salmon are testing positive for dangerous European salmon viruses associated with salmon farming worldwide – most notably in Norwegian fish-farming companies.

Salmon feedlots placed on southcoast wild salmon migration routes

In 1990, Norwegian fish farming companies put clusters of fish farms all along the narrow channels of BC’s Fraser River, right through wild salmon migration routes, not far from my house. The only salmon run that hasn’t drastically declined is the Harrison Sockeye Salmon because these runs of salmon do NOT go through the fish-farm-filled migration route.

In 1992, the mysterious decline in BC’s native salmon counts began its drastic fall. These close dates are far from a coincidence. Native fish that swim through the channels lined with ecologically destructive Norwegian owned fish farms, are getting infected with at least three newly discovered exotic European viruses!

School of salmon

Because these Norwegian-owned fish farms actually have the right to not allow any virus testing of their fish (corporate evils at its finest), a local dedicated researcher actually had to sit outside one of these fish farms and wait for a bald eagle to swoop in the fish pen, snatch up a fish, and drop it outside the farm so it could be tested for these European viruses (talk about the irony of freedom and red tape). Without surprise, the farmed fish tested positive for a lethal European virus called Piscine Reovirus. When infected with this virus, fish’s hearts basically turn to mush, sabotaging the fish’s ability stay alive long enough to swim up river and spawn.

Piscine Reovirus, ISA (or salmon flu), and Salmon Alphavirus (a virus that causes pancreas disease in fish – a known problem in Norway after having to kill entire farms when infected fish were found) have all been found in Norwegian-owned fish farms and are now killing BC’s native salmon. These lethal viruses are among just a few internally reportable diseases and the Norwegian Companies are not only NOT reporting these disease, they’re refusing to even test for them in their fish farms.

The local fish here are infected with the viruses, and as you’ll see in the documentary below, there is a cover-up and an attempt by industry to prevent testing of local, wild fish. When the fish are tested, they are literally swimming with the viruses. Viruses, but not bacteria, survive the freezing process used for sushi grade farmed salmon. No one knows what these species do to humans.

These Norwegian Companies are killing off the entire species of sockeye salmon in British Columbia, which will starve the bald eagles and bears and an entire ecosystem. Norway is a proud country based on sound social and economic values, but this negligent slaying of native fish is as big of a deal as the Japanese killing whales.

If you care about the environment and the health of our seas, you should refuse to purchase Norwegians products until their government holds the giant Norwegian fish conglomerate companies responsible for the damage they cause worldwide.

This is unspeakably evil not because sushi supplies might go down or something, but because wild salmon in Canada and Alaska are the foundational species to entire ecosystems, food chains, and native cultures. Without native salmon, there are no more bald eagles, no more bears, no more Pacific Northwest as we know it. These salmon bring nutrition back from the ocean and entire ecosystems depend on them. Wild salmon are also a livelihood for the First Nations in Canada and create an entire economy for a lot of other people. With the destruction of wild sockeye salmon, local people are paying the price while Norwegian companies are making profits. If you know about the history of the treatment of Canada’s First Nations tribes, this recent development is even more of a travesty.

What can be done and where to find good salmon

These fish farms are another horrible experiment gone wrong in the corporate food production system and it isn’t going to be monitored by the companies themselves. To take the reins on this situation, consumers must start paying attention to where food comes from because what we eat affects the quality of the entire planet.

If you don’t have time to research where your fish came from, you can at least rely on this rule of thumb: Unless the package says “Wild,” the fish was probably farm-raised and probably not safe to eat (note: “fresh” is not “wild”). With that said, remember that you don’t have to eat meat all the time. If you can’t find wild caught fish, or grass-fed beef, it’s best to resist the temptation to buy farm-raised conventional crap, and just settle on eating a lot of vegetables with grass-fed butter, and maybe some eggs or grass-fed protein powder like Upgraded Whey or Upgraded Collagen. You can get by without protein every day. You’ll be fine.

If your local wild caught salmon options are limited but you still want to reap the incredible health benefits of eating wild caught salmon, there are a couple of options. Alderspring Ranch, the same place I’ve been getting my grass-fed organic beef for nearly a decade, now has Wild By Nature Copper River Sockeye Salmon from Alaska. Food and health lovers in the know recognize Copper River sockeye as the very best. These fish are renowned for their firm rich red flesh, and for their high omega-3 content. So order some sockeye with your next grass fed beef order! Both are amazing.

*Receive 15% off 1 or 3 piece sockeye salmon filets from Alderspring Ranch with this coupon code:


Coupon expires at Midnight on June 2nd!

For more on this story, check out the documentary: Salmon Confidential

Click to read the complete list of references.

  1. The Omega3 Connection by Andrew L Stoll MD. P. 208
  2. Holub BJ. Fish oils and cardiovascular disease. CMAJ 1989;141:1063. [MEDLINE]
  3. Blomhoff R, Carlsen MH, Andersen LF, Jacobs DR Jr. Health benefits of nuts: potential role of antioxidants. Br J Nutr. 2006 Nov;96 Suppl 2:S52-60. 2006. PMID:17125534. for antioxidants and heart health.
  4. Environmental Working Group article “Mercury in Your Fish,” by Ken Cook President of EWG.
  5. David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany and publisher of a major study in the journal Science on contamination in fish.
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By Dave Asprey

  • Frederik Emil Hanfgarn

    Awesome post Dave!

  • Etone

    $19.50 per pound?

  • Will Petty

    You said you live in BC. How do you order from Alderspring? They don’t ship internationally.

    • Izzy

      If you live in BC Lower Mainland, try Big Bear Ranch – organic pasture-fed beef, pork, chicken, lamb. They deliver several times a year to our area and their meat is top quality and prices reasonable.
      To have wild caught sockeye all year, I bought a small chest freezer and a vacuum sealer. I live in an apartment but I stil found space for it. I buy sockeye in season (aug-sept) whenever I find a good sale and freeze.
      One observation: sockeye doesn’t eat red plankton 🙂 but small krill, which contains astaxanthin – which is red, and a powerful antioxidant. Farmed fish are fed synthetic astaxanthin to give them some edible colour, otherwise their meat is grey-ish.
      And one last thought: thank you Dave for the idea with the bulletproof coffee. With this little tweak I’m finally getting into nutritional ketosis after months of trying, and started to shed weight so smoothly, I still think it’s magic.

      • Will Petty

        Thanks Izzy. I will certainly try them out. Much appreciated.

  • johngalt30

    It would really be great to eat wild sockeye 3 times a week, but its cost prohibitive. I try and supplement with high doses of Omega 3 and take Chorella to keep the mercury count low, but I’m just a young student 🙁

  • kl5

    Yes, thank you for this. Highly recommend Taras Grescoe’s Bottomfeeder for more hard to swallow facts on fish farming.

  • Jan Virtanen

    Best source of omega fats is actually the head of wild salmon. And its one of the cheapest. Its also loaded with vitamin A and iodine.
    I try to eat them all the time when they are available.
    Here salmon season lasts only about 2months in a year.

    • Izzy

      How do you cook salmon head??

      • Chad L

        Almost every culture has a version of fish head stew. Do a Google search for “[ANY COUNTRY EXCPET NORWAY] fish head stew”

  • xxxJDxxx

    Anyone else in BC know where to get some quality grass fed butter?

    • Dakota5625

      Kerrigold Pure Irish Butter unsalted (silver package) or Organic Valley Pasture Butter are both found at Whole Foods and some Trader Joe’s. also check Costco for the Kerrigold.

    • randomjames

      You can get the Kerry Gold at Irate Joe’s (the Trader Joe’s bootleg store in Kits)

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  • ArtemisKahn

    Some of this government muzzling in the documentary is hard to watch, very disheartening.

  • Matthew Walrath

    Hey Dave, I believe you made a spelling error that makes it look as if these fish are fed, at least halfway, decently. See: Fed soy and poultry LIVER – Farmed salmon in particular is fed soy and rendered poultry LITTER (that’s used for henhouse bedding, complete with chicken manure!).

    Should the “Liver” with the H3 tag be “Litter” as the context would imply?

  • gary

    you can get wild caught sockeye salmon cans at Trader Joes for about $4 a can, great deal

    • Brad

      Yes. I use these salmon cans from TJ’s for making “tuna” salad (salmon salad) with mayo also from TJ’s… I use the regular mayo with Apple Cider vinegar, though I’d much prefer to get organic egg made mayo. My wife can’t eat regular vinegar–it has to be apple cider or rice-based vinegar due to sensitivity to grapes (used in white/distilled vinegars, as well as balsamic of course).

      Any suggestions for a good organic mayo made with rice or apple cider vinegar, aside from making our own mayo which seems like too much trouble to this busy couple?

      • Primalbeing

        It took me forever to make my own mayo, but it really isn’t hard to do and only takes about 8 minutes per week. Seriously, it’s worth taking the time. I use half light olive oil and half MCT oil (Bulletproof, of course), with tarragon vinegar, pastured eggs and mustard. 8 minutes.

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  • Daniel

    One of the first google search items when “Salmon Confidential” is plugged in. I was looking through some of the bullet points and a few seem to be good points. Although I still believe there is a very strong argument to buy and consume wild fish over farmed, you have to be careful with documentaries, many produce a gloom and doom message without a completely unbiased perspective.

    • Bardufoss84

      why such a general comment? why now? we are talking about Norwegian companies destroying local salmon and the ecosystem, its should be gloomy

  • closetsoapboxer

    Very disturbing stuff. Thanks

  • Coyote

    What about scottish farmed salmon? In Belgium where I come from fresh or frozen alaskan salmon is hard to find. Norwegian fresh salmon is everywhere but in some markets you can find fresh scottish salmon (sometimes it has the “red label”)

    Is scottish salmon a good alternative?

    Otherwise, canned wild red sockeye salmon is available in every supermarket & it is not too expensive. I guess the advantages of this highly nutritious superfood outweigh the disadvantages -cans are not BPA-free…. or they would mention it!.

    (this brand :

  • Tore Sinding Bekkedal

    Wouldn’t the proper course of action be to confront the regulatory situation in Canada? Surely, unless the regulation is fixed, then the next company to come along would be just as free to conduct their business in the antisocial manner you accuse them of.

    I’m Norwegian and concerned by some of the claims you put forth here, but I do have confidence in my government’s ability to regulate the trade in my best interests – certainly, my confidence in them is stronger than in a random website that seems to be making some fairly strong claims I have to say seem almost rash, especially that farm-raised salmon is unsafe to eat.

  • In a few years time, we do not need to think about fish from the Northern Sea. This is due to the fact that Norwegian authorities deliberately have left a nazi-submarine with 65 metric tons of quick-silver on the sea-bed just outside Bergen. Thanks to the Norwegian Labour party.

    • jaddajadda

      yah, blame the Labour party. cos they have been ruling CONTINUOUSLY since WW2, so theliberal parties can in no way ble blamed for the wreck still being there, right…? jeez…. -.-

      (sorry for the digression)

      • Netfrog

        U 864 was rediscovered in 2003…

        • jaddajadda

          ok, my bad in that case. i am just tired of all the morons in the comment section bashing hte gov at every chance they get!

    • aIshoaib

      (“quick-silver” = Mercury )

    • Wild Wood Ways

      Well, I don’t know if you may have already found out….. but mercury does NOT float on water. So no harm should come of that 65 metric tons.

  • smokesmd

    lookout for cold smoked salmon.. they found out it has Listeria

    • chef

      salmon, wild or farmed dont have listeria, but the manufactor havent cleaned their equipment, maybe after producing something with pork, tht often have listeria.

  • phaedrica

    They don’t call him “Con” for nothing! Seems the Canadian Government is even MORE guilty on allowing the killing of THEIR OWN SALMON than even the Norwegians, who prevented these investigations from the beginning. I couldn’t take a small jar of peanut butter in my lunch bag from Australia back to the States, but these European ISA strains are freely laced throughout other country’s fish populations potentially (more like eventually) destroying entire ecosystems?

  • Karlos Coleman

    I hear what he’s saying but Im wondering if the same is true about fish grown in Aquaponics?

    • joble

      Doesn’t really matter if it’s aquaponics or not; for the fish the only difference in aquaponics is how their water is cleaned (they can’t tell any difference). What matters is fish density and what you feed them.

  • aIshoaib

    Maybe not so weird its being allowed
    considering the Norwegian minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, Lisbeth Berg Hansen in Norway’s Labour Party government, has vested interests in the fish farming business as a stock holder in one of the big salmon farming businesses.

    Here are some examples, the Norwegian wiki-page for the fish-minister, and a Norwegian news article example regarding her million-profit dividends from the salmon farming business:

    Norway (and surely rest of the west) is “not at all” corrupt in any way on the paper, but the reality is very different. . . its all about the $$. Politicians are mafia

  • michael

    Great news today, seems like researchers from Mcgill University in Quebec has figured out that even though these GMO salmon were suppose to be sterile, that’s not the case. Meaning it’s only a matter of time before all salmon have traces of GMO. What’s even better is these GMO salmon seem to be interested in breeding with trout as well (they must have added the sex drive of a rhino in their dna). Talk about killing two fish with one stone.

  • aIshoaib

    The meat of farmed salmon is actually brownish, but has color similar to that of wild salmon because they feed them drugs (like Astaxanthin) to alter its color to appear more natural.

    Here a Norwegian newspaper article on the subject, google-translated:

  • Citizen284

    Simply not buying their products won’t do jack s**t – we need to actively work to get them under scrutiny. You said it yourself – the wild fish population is dying (who the f let them build farms on migration routes, anyway?), soon enough there won’t be any left so you’ll have no choice but get farmed fish…

  • Sean Flaherty

    We need to do what we can to ensure healthy salmon populations through keeping the watery world they live in healthy. Research Pebble Mine and be heard!!

  • Being a Norwegian, I must sadly agree to the message in the headline. Norwegian fish products have a generally bad quality, at least those we can buy in our daily stores. This is not the only product area where Norwegian fabriccants and service providers have a slender attitude to quality. We Norwegians experience it as a general tendency in the whole society.

  • MJ

    Dave, how do you feel about Alderspring’s beef being dry aged?

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  • Casey Thormahlen

    Dave –

    You give lots of good critiques of conventionally farmed fish. Would you still be opposed to farmed fish if you found a farm that

    1) Did not feed soy, grains, legumes, or animal byproducts to the fish.
    2) Fed the fish a diet maximally close to their natural diet (including plankton, seaweed, etc). Assume that a random fish from each ‘harvest’ was tested for nutritional content (i.e. Omega 3s).
    3) Used no antibiotics or pesticides. Limited population by tank volume.
    4) Regularly monitored for viruses/bacteria/fungal infections. Fish waste would be filtered through a closed-loop aquaponics system (feeding vegetables).

    I would think the resulting product would be (nearly) comparable to wild-caught fish of the same species. I don’t know if anyone is doing this commercially yet, but I’m considering doing this at least for personal use.

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  • Ryan F

    Hi Dave,

    I have not heard you discuss the still continuing Fukushima issue on the pacific fish supply which includes Salmon? Can any of it be considered bulletproof with radioactive contamination?

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  • thatcher_love

    Sorry, but this article is ridiculously biased. Don’t think I will spend much time debunking this trash. But just to mention one thing, wild fish generally speaking have higher toxin levels than farmed salmon. Just that point alone completely obliterates this article. And then I haven’t spent time pulling apart the actual claims made in this article, where I with just a cursory quick reading can find many, many ridiculous claims and at one point or two you basically argue against a point you just made a couple of lines above.

  • SindreGud

    Funny thing is if we diden’t have farmed salmon we wouldn’t have any salmon at all. You should have wrote an article about a healthier way to farm them, instead of bashing the country who are heads above everyone else when it comes to safe farming. Still a far way to go though.

  • Nicole Niblick

    Super glad you guys appreciate the taste and texture of live parasitic worms. Really, the anisakis are thrilled to have your soft bellies to curl up in. What, you thought those pale little spirals in your wild caught salmon fillets were part of the fish? Blood vessels? Nah, those are worms. And yes, they want mammalian hosts.

    If you’re cooking the fish thoroughly you should be fine, but wild salmon sushi isn’t eaten in Japan for a reason. I’ve spent six years behind the fish counter, I’ve pulled live nematode worms from frozen Russian sockeye. Eating wild-caught salmon raw is a great way to get very sick. Ether eat farm raised sashimi, or refrain from raw salmon.