These days, consumers are most likely familiar with the phrase “wild caught salmon”. Whether you saw it on display at your local grocer or heard it mentioned on your favorite cooking show, you are, at the very least, probably aware that it exists. But is wild caught salmon really “better” for you?
As wild Alaskan salmon fishermen, we can assure you that wild salmon is the better choice for a number of reasons. Thanks to its completely natural environment, nutritional value, and an industry dedicated to keeping wild salmon swimming for centuries, the benefits of wild salmon far outweigh any other choice of salmon on the market.
In order to understand why wild caught salmon is better, though, it is first important to understand where your wild salmon comes from.
Bristol Bay, Alaska: An Unparalleled Wild Salmon Habitat
Here at Pride of Bristol Bay, we spend each summer commercially fishing for wild sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Pride of Bristol Bay owner and Captain Steve Kurian has been fishing in Bristol Bay for 20 years, with the first 10 of those spent fishing alongside his wife, Co-Captain Jenn.
The Bristol Bay region is located in the southwestern corner of Alaska, tucked into the land just above the Alaskan Peninsula. Its six river systems flow into the Nushagak and Kvichak River drainages, which comprise a pristine environment that is the most ideal wild salmon habitat on earth. From here, Bristol Bay itself connects these tributaries to the Pacific ocean, where wild-run salmon have been making their incredible journey along the western coastline for centuries.
The Bristol Bay Salmon Management Plan administered by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is recognized as one of the most effective, comprehensive resource management systems in the world. In Bristol Bay, it is known as the cornerstone of resource stewardship. Not only does it cultivate and protect the region's salmon, but it includes the support of all species in the ecosystem for generations to come.
With no other fishery coming close to Bristol Bay’s world-renowned practices, we feel the decision between wild salmon and other salmon sources, like Atlantic or farm-raised, is obvious. Because Atlantic salmon are currently protected due to overfishing in the early 1900’s, fishing for wild run Atlantic salmon is prohibited. This means that if you’re eating Atlantic salmon anywhere in the U.S., you are most likely eating farm-raised salmon, which can often contain additives and other chemicals.
When it comes to wild sockeye salmon from Bristol Bay, however, you can be sure that these animals have lived entirely untouched lives with a completely natural diet.
Wild Salmon Health Benefits
In addition to their unparalleled habitat and the fleet of biologists and fishermen dedicated to preserving their habitat, wild-caught salmon from Bristol Bay makes a big splash when it comes to health benefits.
Visually, wild Pacific salmon are healthier looking in general when compared to their farm-raised counterparts. Their naturally ruby red color comes from a diet made up mostly of ocean zooplankton, shrimp and krill, which dye wild salmon red in color - similar to flamingos. Wild sockeye salmon are also naturally lean thanks to the thousands of miles they swim over the course of their life.
Meanwhile, farm-raised salmon’s diet usually consists of man-made fishmeal, often including artificial dyes to give them some (albeit dull) color and antibiotics to keep them free from disease. With an enclosed environment of roughly 100 feet across, 30 feet deep and containing up to 90,000 fish, farm-raised salmon are often more susceptible to infection.
Nutritionally, any salmon in general is a healthier choice than other meats as a protein source. Both contain an impressive source of heart-healthy protein, B vitamins, selenium, potassium and are a great source of omega-3s and 6s. These essential nutrients are good for improving heart health, fighting inflammation, promoting brain health, and aiding in blood pressure control.
However, fishmeal given to farm-raised salmon is often used to create a plumper fish, resulting in a higher amount of unhealthy fats compared to wild salmon. Nutrients like omega-3s and omega-6s are important to our diets, but it is even more important to find the right balance of fat content. As farmed salmon has a higher fat ratio, wild-caught salmon is the better choice for finding that balance.
Additionally, it's important to note that wild salmon often beats farmed salmon’s daily suggested intake of other important minerals like calcium and iron.
Table Source: Healthline
Pride of Bristol Bay Salmon: Protecting What We Love
With a lifelong appreciation for sourcing their own protein and food traceability, Pride of Bristol Bay owners Steve and Jenn Kurian were quickly hooked on Bristol Bay after spending a summer set netting for sockeye salmon. Thanks to the story behind this magical place and the incredibly flavorful and nutritious salmon it produces, the Kurian's were inspired to start their own wild Alaskan salmon business in the Lower 48.
While their first venture now provides all types of wild-caught seafood to homes across the U.S., Pride of Bristol Bay remains a #1 choice for buying sockeye salmon in bulk. Both Direct to Door shipping (10lb and 20lb cases) and local Buying Clubs (20lb cases only) are available at Pride of Bristol Bay.
In Bristol Bay, we partner with a small processing facility that processes the very same wild Alaskan sockeye salmon Captain Steve and the rest of the Bristol Bay fleet fish for each June and July. Each fillet or portion is flash frozen, individually sealed and transported so that it maintains the same premium quality and delicious flavor, from our nets, to your table!
As sport fishermen, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts in the off season, the Kurians are also dedicated to protecting what they love for the long haul. Pride of Bristol Bay gives back to organizations dedicated to healthy salmon habitat, clean water and sustainable food sources - in Bristol Bay and Beyond.
We support organizations like Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Chapter and their Save Bristol Bay efforts, who work hard to keep hard rock mines out of Bristol Bay. Pride of Bristol Bay also gives back to Idaho Rivers United, who are on a mission to protect and restore Idaho’s rivers. Additionally, we run Salmon Buying Clubs in order to fundraise for Slow Food chapters in Jackson Hole and Lake Tahoe, who are dedicated to Good, Clean, Fair Food.
With every purchase at Pride of Bristol Bay, a portion goes back to one of these organizations, depending on which offering you are partaking in.
Why Buy Our Wild Caught Salmon
With our commitment as wild Alaskan salmon fishermen to quality sockeye salmon and trust in knowing where your product comes from in mind, it’s easy to see why wild caught salmon is better. As one of the purest forms of nutrition you can eat, wild-caught salmon has incredible health benefits and a delicious flavor that will make you want to choose wild-caught salmon every time.
When it comes to purchasing wild salmon, we understand that committing to a 10lb or 20lb case of salmon is a lot - both for your wallet and freezer. That’s why here at Pride of Bristol Bay, you can order at your own pace, as often or little as you like - no tricky subscription required.
We also offer special rates for our local Buying Clubs, as well as an installment payment plan at checkout for our Direct to Door shipping option. This way, you can enjoy your wild caught sockeye salmon without breaking the bank.
With these wild salmon benefits and affordable options, choosing wild caught salmon has never been so easy!