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WHERE DO SALMON GET OMEGA-3’s

A picture of Verlasso Salmon

By Verlasso Salmon

November 13, 2012

Most people think of salmon as a great source of omega-3s, but salmon themselves don’t actually produce omega-3. They get it from what they eat, which includes smaller oily feeder fish that eat omega-3-rich algae.

How do salmon get Omega-3s?

In the wild, salmon eat oily feeder fish like herring, anchovies, and mackerel that contain omega-3 oils.

Farmed salmon, without access to feeder fish, depend on fish oil in their feed to get the omega-3 they need. And that means a lot of fish oil. Currently 50% of the fish oil produced for fish feed worldwide goes into farmed salmon’s diet, which comes with an environmental cost. 

How does the depletion of feeder fish impact the environment?

It takes roughly four pounds of wild-caught feeder fish to produce the omega-3 rich fish oil needed to raise one pound of salmon.  This high “fish in, fish out” ratio places an unsustainable burden on our oceans by depleting the feeder fish that play such an important role in the oceans’ food chains. 

What is Verlasso doing to minimize the burden on the ocean’s food chain?

At Verlasso, we are replacing fish oil with omega-3 derived from yeast, allowing us to significantly reduce the “fish in, fish out” ratio and the burden on the ocean’s food chain. With the yeast-based diet, the “fish in” number is reduced to 1. In other words, Verlasso salmon require 75% less feeder fish while still getting all the omega-3 content they need to be healthy—and that we depend on for our own health. The positive impact on wild feeder fish populations, and the fish that depend on them for food, cannot be underestimated.

Do farmed Salmon have the same level of Omega-3s as wild salmon?

Interestingly, farmed salmon usually have more omega-3s than wild-caught salmon.  In the wild, the salmon’s diet is unpredictable and the omega-3 levels can vary significantly.  Farm raised salmon benefit from consistent omega-3s in their diets.

Evolving aquaculture to meet both environmental concerns and an ever-growing demand for healthy, nutritious fish is no small task.  At Verlasso, we’ve developed a breakthrough approach to aquaculture that ensures the future availability of salmon and produces a delicious, Omega-3 rich fish we need for good health.

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