The Atlantic Salmon is native to the North Atlantic but was introduced to Australia for farming in the 1970's. Salmonid Aquaculture (Atlantic Salmon and Trout) is one of the most important fishery sectors in Australia and is focussed on sea pen aquaculture in the southeast of Tasmania. Victoria also has some smaller land based farms, often for the production of plate-sized trout or roe. Aquaculture means that the supply is consistent year round.
AMCS lists Sea-cage farmed Atlantic Salmon as SAY NO
King Salmon farmed in New Zealand is a more sustainable option than Australian farmed Atlantic Salmon.
Check out the GoodFishBadFish series on Open-Pen Sea Cage Aquaculture for more information on the farming method used to produce all Tasmanian Atlantic Salmon.
The why and how of sustainability
Tasmanian Atlantic Salmon operations have come under a lot of scrutiny recently, with many questioning the sustainability of these operations. Waste from farmed fish threaten wild stocks with disease, and ratios of wild caught feed needed to grow Atlantic Salmon put additional pressure on wild fish stocks. However, R&D by the industry itself is resulting in improved feed conversion ratios and less reliance on wild-caught fishmeal. Tassal, the largest producer of Atlantic Salmon in Australia, has Aquaculture Stewardship Council accreditation. They have also worked closely with the WWF since 2012 to improve the sustainability of all their operations. However there are significant concerns about their operations, at most conservation groups consider these operations ecologically damaging.
Preparation and cooking
Well known for their rich, meaty, bright orange flesh and high oil content, Atlantic Salmon has rapidly become one of Australia’s most popular fish species. Atlantic Salmon lends itself to a range of preparations, including grilling, baking, steaming, poaching and pan-frying.
It is advisable to match Atlantic Salmon with garnishes that will help cut through it’s rich oily flesh. Try herbs, citrus, tomato, vinegars or asian preparations utilising ginger, garlic and lemongrass.
Atlantic Salmon is also popular in raw and cured preparations such as sushi, sashimi, gravlax, lox and more.
Salmon and TROUT farmed in land-based pond systems are a preferable alternative to those produced by sea-cage aquaculture. These fish are usually smaller ‘plate-sized’ specimens, well suited to baking whole or BBQ’ing wrapped in foil and stuffed with aromatics. The light fattiness of these fish ensures they stay moist when cooked on the bone and result in a gentle flake. The fattiness is well offset by lemon and herbs.
Yellowtail Kingfish is a popular fish to serve raw. It’s firm, clean, lightly fatty flesh makes an excellent substitute for Salmon. Try it next time you want to prepare sushi, sashimi or ceviche.