Salmon is an anadromous fish species, which means that it spawns in fresh water and spends most of its life in the sea. Wild Atlantic salmon can be up to 1.3 metres long and weigh up to 40 kg, while farmed salmon are harvested when they are between four and six kg.
Almost all Atlantic salmon eaten in Norway today are farmed salmon. Farmed salmon are sold all year as fresh or frozen, in fillets or as whole fish. Salmon fillets can be cured or cold or hot smoked. Farmed salmon can be used raw to make sushi and sashimi, also when it has not been frozen.
Farmed Atlantic salmon is the most important farmed species in Norway, and salmon has been farmed since the 1970s.
The composition of nutrients in the feed is vital for ensuring that the farmed salmon develop normally, are healthy and nutritious food. Traditionally farmed salmon were fed on feed consisting of fishmeal and fish oil. Now, there are not enough marine resources to keep up with the growth in the fish farming industry, and the feed producers have since early 2000 used alternative ingredients such as plant proteins and vegetable oils. NIFES conducts research on how the nutrient composition of salmon feed can ensure robust, healthy and safe fish.
Farmed Atlantic salmon is a good source of marine omega-3 fatty acids. The content of some nutrients the fillet, but not all, can vary depending on the feed the salmon has been given.
Content of undesirable substances
Farmed salmon have a low level of undesirable substances and are therefore safe to eat.
Under international regulations, Norway is committed to annually monitor the content of various pharmaceuticals and environmental toxins in farmed fish. NIFES conducts the analyses on behalf of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. The number of samples taken is based on the total production of farmed salmon.