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Salmon, Wild-Caught Alaska

Alaskan salmon, consisting of Chinook (king), chum (dog), coho (silver), pink (humpback) and sockeye (red) salmon populations, is caught predominantly with hook-and-line gear, purse seines or gillnets. Most of the bycatch (non-target species) in salmon fisheries consists of other types of salmon than what the specific vessels are targeting. When wild salmon fisheries are well managed, they can maintain the fish stock as a long-term environmentally viable economic resource. The Alaskan salmon populations are not considered to be overfished. Some studies have indicated that wild salmon possess lower levels of PCBs (chemical toxins that pose a health risk to adults and children) than farmed salmon, as a result of the elevated level of contamination in the commercial feed given to farmed salmon. Additionally, wild-caught Alaskan salmon is not exposed to the chemicals, hormones and antibiotics that may be used at salmon farms.

Many salmon stocks in California, Oregon and Washington have become threatened in recent years by poor water management, climate change, and other factors. Some stocks are beginning to show signs of recovery in 2011. Fisheries management officials are expecting a moderate season for this year, and landings are expected to be larger this year than in previous years. Salmon from Oregon, Washington and California may contain some levels of mercury. Consumers should check for current warnings to determine safe consumption levels of fish, in particular for pregnant women, those who may become pregnant and children: http://map1.epa.gov

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Mercury and PCB contaminant information for the Smart Seafood Guide is drawn from Environmental Defense Fund’s Health Alert List. Environmental Defense calculates health advisories based on government databases and scientific studies. Read more.

* Disclaimer

These recommendations are intended as a general reference. They are not intended to provide specific medical advice, supplant any government warnings or otherwise prevent exposure to any health hazards associated with seafood. People should always follow proper acquisition, handling and cooking procedures of any seafood they prepare or consume.