About 6 months ago we made pledge to go “farmed-salmon free” at the market. Although the Loch Duart Company, the salmon farm we have been using for the past 10 years, utilizes the best practices for open water aquaculture, the risk of fish escaping, competing with and potentially contaminating wild salmon populations is too important to be overlooked. We successfully discontinued farmed salmon in our fresh seafood case when we found a direct source of wild Alaskan salmon, but had trouble adapting our smoked salmon recipe utilizing the wild fish and did not want to compromise the quality of the final product. This was a hard decision for us as our house-smoked salmon is one of the most revered items we make. After several months of experimentation, we have finally developed a recipe using wild caught Alaskan King salmon that we are proud of.
The king salmon is a bit leaner and not as uniform as the farmed fish, but the final product is absolutely delicious and just as luscious. The variation in each fish is a result of mother nature– different genetics, location of catch, and the natural feeding patterns of wild fish.
The one down side of the switch is that there will be a slight increase in the price. The reason for the increase starts with the cost of the raw whole product. Farming fish allows for streamlined production, less variable expenses in growing and harvesting, and more controlled yield and loss. Wild fishing has many more variables (weather, fuel spent fishing, quota permits, etc… ) that affect the quantity caught as well as money spent in catching, storing and transporting the product. The high demand for a wild caught salmon also has a big impact on the market price, especially when the season’s yield is unknown from year to year.
We hope that even though the price increased, that you would agree with us that ultimately it is more important to promote and support the most sustainable seafood possible.