HELP!!! Is this salmon good?

Discussion in 'Fish' started by redwood carlos, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. I just picked this salmon up from Whole foods and after getting it home it does not look fresh. Note the grey looking area.

    Is this salmon bad? Will I get sick eating it?

  2. akhap

    akhap Smoke Blower

    There is nothing wrong with the looks of that fish... It actually looks really good. Rely on your nose, we cannot smell it from here! ;)

    That gray area is just slow twitch muscle (do not know where "blood line" comes from) and it does almost all movement for the salmon. It is high in oxygen carrying hemoglobin and has more blood vessels than other parts of the flesh. There is no reason not to eat it as it does not have any particular off taste as is so often found in warmwater fish like catfish.
  3. Thank you very much. This is fresh pacific salmon.
  4. Just fatty and "dark meat" areas, OTW the fish looks fine. Some people don't eat the "darkmeat", lateral line, (my wife for one) as it can be a bit stronger. Doesn't bother me in the least. 
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The NOSE KNOWS! Fresh Fish smells like an Ocean Breeze, is firm and bouncy to the touch and has a damp to slightly Tacky surface. Anything else, especially an Ammonia smell is better fed to the Cats...JJ
  6. akhap

    akhap Smoke Blower

    I assume that is sockeye?
  7. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You should be going to the piers in Half Moon Bay to buy a whole Salmon, if you have any doubt on store bought fish.  Or better yet, jump on a boat and land a couple of them sea pigs.
  8. I am not sure.
    I know, I know...It was a last minute thing, and bought at Whole foods, which is why I was a bit puzzled. I think I will take a quick trip over there this weekend and get one or two with the intention of cutting up for the freezer.

    I saw your post about the cutting board, so I saw you like salmon. I was "trying out" AKhap's smoking procedure again, and I really like it. Give it a shot if you have not already.
  9. cmayna

    cmayna Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Per call to Wholefoods, they are currently selling fresh Atlantic, Copper River Sockeye & Washington King.
  10. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Your Salmon looks Great!!!

    Those areas are just the fat next to the skin. Many people don't eat that, because most of the toxic PCBs are stored in those fatty areas.


  11. akhap

    akhap Smoke Blower

    I absolutely disagree with what you posted there in relation to wild Alaskan (or west coast) salmon. The studies are based on farmed Atlantic salmon from Scotland and Norway which have been fed PCBs in their feed. It absolutely does not apply to Copper River reds or other Alaska salmon, period. The rates run about 8x as high as EPA standards, but lower than the FDA allows???

    That tissue under the skin along the lateral line is NOT fatty tissue it is simply muscle that is used far more than the rest of the fish's muscle. There are almost no measurable PCBs in AK salmon and few in west coast farmed salmon. (Much as it pains me to admit that as the farms will be the death of our salmon runs) It does not have any particular fat storage going on, as a matter of fact it is lightly lower in fat than the rest of the flesh.
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It's not me you're disagreeing with. You can find it all over the Web. Alaskan & Maine fish may have less PCBs & Mercury than fish in other states, but all fish have fat in the areas shown in the picture above, and fish do store PCBs in that fat. Most states put out a warning on how much fish to eat, and tell you how to trim the fat off to avoid PCBs:

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][font=Times New Roman, Times, serif]Wild Alaska salmon isn't as pure as advertised[/font]

    By Don Whiteley

    Commercial greed and gross mismanagement by government agencies have combined to destroy or diminish wild fish stocks all over the globe, including the West Coast salmon fishery.

    With that in mind, one can only marvel at the success of the environment movement, and others, for convincing people that it is more ecologically responsible to kill and eat a wild Chinook salmon than a farmed Atlantic salmon raised in a pen.

    Carried to its logical, and absurd, conclusion, we should also demand an end to all chicken farms and cattle ranches so we can go back to eating deer, moose and wild pheasant -- all in the name of ecology, of course.

    The latest knock against B.C.'s beleaguered salmon farmers came last week in the annual marketing push for Alaska's fabled Copper River salmon. Alaska Airlines signed a partnership agreement with Alaska's Nor-Quest Seafoods and New England's Legal Seafoods to provide, initially, two to three tons of fresh salmon a week. Legal has 30 family restaurants on the Eastern seaboard, fish markets, a catering business, and sells fish on the Internet.

    Tied to this is a big marketing splash with promotional blitzes in Washington, Boston, New York -- the whole nine yards. In an interview with the Alaska Journal of Commerce, Roger Berkowitz, president of Nor-Quest, said this:

    "We are going to try and wean people off the farmed and onto the wild. I am a firm believer in wild product. Alaska wild salmon is the purest, most healthy and most environmentally sustainable -- in short, the best there is."

    Well, not quite. The purity of the wild Alaska salmon is based more on myth than reality, as it is subject to the same environmental pressures, and water-borne contaminants, as other wild salmon stocks up and down the West Coast.

    And while Alaskans look down their noses at salmon farming (it's not allowed), they encourage salmon ranching -- a variation on salmon farming that sees fish raised in pens until they are big enough to fend for themselves, and then let go into the wild.

    The creme de la creme of Alaskan wild salmon is the Copper River run, and every year its arrival on the market in May is greeted with the same enthusiasm and hoopla applied to the arrival of Beaujolais wine from France.

    But guess what -- it's laced with PCBs. I feel safe in using the word "laced" because the same word was used over and over again in the media to describe the 32 parts per billion of PCBs detected in B.C. farmed salmon in a study released last January. But an independent study conducted in 1998 on behalf of the Circumpolar Conservation Union showed Copper River salmon with PCB levels exceeding 60 parts per billion -- nearly twice as "laced" as the farmed salmon rate. Has it improved since 1998? Maybe. But maybe it got worse.

    That's not the only wild salmon run discovered to have higher levels of PCBs than farmed salmon. Similar results came out of a study of Puget Sound salmon, where wild Chinook salmon were found to have PCB levels equal to, and sometimes higher than, farmed salmon.

    All these salmon tested at PCB levels well below the 2,000 parts per billion considered the maximum allowable before the fish is considered a health problem -- but I wonder if these stats are spelled out in Alaska's marketing blitz? And if PCBs are a good reason not to eat farmed salmon, then they are twice as good a reason not to eat Copper River salmon.

    Salmon farming vs. salmon ranching is another interesting issue that likely doesn't make its way into the "wild is good, farmed is bad" marketing campaign. In order to help maintain its commercial fishery, and enhance wild fish stocks, Alaska decided to forego the salmon farming route and do salmon ranching instead.

    Salmon ranching is a lot like salmon farming. Fish are raised in ocean-based pens, fed a steady diet of processed food (purchased in B.C., interestingly enough, and consumed at nearly six times the rate used in B.C. fish-farm operations), fed some dyes important to their health and colour, also antibiotics. When they're big enough, they let them go.

    Alaska releases more than 1.5 Billion "ranched" fish into the waters every year, and they happily swim away, competing for food with their natural-born cousins, and eventually get caught (along with the wild fish) in the commercial fishery. About 25 per cent of the catch comes from hatchery fish. This program, along with other aspects of Alaska's fisheries management, has been certified as okay by the international Marine Stewardship Council.

    But the Alaska chapter of U.S. conservation organization Trout Unlimited in 2002 released a cutting critique of the MSC's glowing endorsement, saying "an evaluation that finds no significant weaknesses in organizational structure and performance invites a skeptical, even cynical, reception."

    And about Alaskan salmon ranching, Trout Unlimited had some scathing remarks on the practice's impact on diversity in wild fish stocks, particularly the opportunity for genetic dilution as hatchery fish head for the spawning beds.

    "The fact that the [Alaska] Department of Fish and Game not only insists that concerns about the impact of hatchery fish on wild populations are paranoiac, but also has authorized increased hatchery production and is financially subsidizing that production, belies the certification of management for sustainability.

    "From the perspective of conservation of wild salmon biodiversity, there is no biological justification for releasing 1.6 billion hatchery juveniles annually into Alaska waters."

    In the debate between farmed and wild fish, none of this is considered when a restaurateur has to decide which fish to put on his menu. The customer asks one question: "Is it wild or is it farmed?" and makes a decision based on emotion rather than fact. B.C. salmon farmers are losing market share as a result of this.

    All's fair in love and marketing. But the facts don't give Alaska an advantage in this argument, and Alaska's holier-than-thou attitude to the issue is quite annoying.

    And to all those New Englanders happily chowing down on Alaska "wild" Copper River salmon -- enjoy your PCBs.

    [email protected]
  13. akhap

    akhap Smoke Blower

    I doubt the site wants me to start into a discussion of the huge errors and omissions in that highly slanted piece...

    Notice I stated the farmed fish with PCB issues were from Scotland and Norway?

    PCBs at the stated levels for AK salmon are pretty much standard for all ocean fish and actually on the low side. Kings live longer and have higher levels than other species of salmon.

    The fellow is completely overlooking the fact the BC salmon farms are very literally wiping out their natural runs, particularly pink salmon runs that have to pass under the pens and fall prey to sea lice. You can find lots about that on the internet, too.

    It is a hugely complex issue and to suggest one poorly-written, heavily-biased internet report is going to contain the whole truth is humorous.

    His description of the practices used by the vast majority of AK hatcheries is amusing, especially if you have ever seen one or been in one to understand what they do. For example, the primary hatchery at the headwaters of the Copper River is the first sockeye hatchery that operates like pink and chum hatcheries, releasing newly hatched fry into the water to grow naturally. Pink and chum salmon hatch and stay in the gravel until they absorb their yolksac and then head to saltwater. That is why they are so heavily relied on for hatchery fish and why their runs get supplemented.

    Red salmon stay in a lake for at least two years before heading out to salt. At the headwaters of the Copper they have everything they need to reproduce naturally and in huge numbers EXCEPT spawning gravel. The hatchery there simply takes brood stock from native, natural fish, and mixes the sexual products in buckets and hatches the eggs on trays under running water. When the fish hatch they are kept until the fish would be coming out of the gravel naturally and released into the lakes. Everything else about their existence is just like the completely wild fish.

    The comments about the feed are ridiculous. Next week I intend to stop by the hatchery mentioned and speak to the manager that has been there for quite some time. I have a couple projects I hope to get Gary to help me with.

    Other salmon are raised in hatcheries and released but they are to increase sportfishing opportunities... In all the your post is poor... but I will stop for now.
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Right, I don't want to discuss wild & farmed & such either.

    If I was going to make a pick of US fresh fish, I would go for Alaska or Maine fish.

    I'll just keep my original post with picture. It was on topic with the OP, and was answering his question.

    Those areas are fat & many won't eat it because even the state warnings say to trim off the fat, like in the picture, because those are the areas that store the PCBs. Those are just the facts. For myself I don't worry about it, because I'm old & on my last leg----PCBs from fish aren't going to take me out----They'll have to wait in line.

    Last edited: Jun 19, 2013

Share This Page