Atlantic Salmon, Pacific, Norwegian, or Another? How Do They Differ and Which One to Choose?

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łosoś atlantycki

Salmon is a predatory fish migrating between oceans, seas, rivers, and lakes. This is termed as anadromous. It means it comes into the world in freshwater, then migrates to saline water, only to return to fresh water for spawning [1]. There are two primary varieties of salmon in the world: Atlantic and Pacific. Despite the bad reputation of farmed salmon, I would like to prove that it is worth reaching for this fish and preparing delicious dishes.

What Does Salmon Look Like?

Salmon is a slender fish with a pointed head. Adult individuals have black, irregular spots on the upper part of the body. They are predatory fish. Due to their migratory lifestyle, their food varies at different stages of development. In freshwater, they feed on planktonic crustaceans and in saline water exclusively on fish [2].

There are two scientific categories of salmon:

  • Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), whose variants are regional varieties, for example, Norwegian, Baltic, Scottish;
  • Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp), whose variants are Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), chum (Oncorhynchus keta), pink (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha), sockeye (Oncorhynchus nerka)

Atlantic Salmon

In our kitchens, the Atlantic salmon undoubtedly reigns supreme [3]. They naturally migrate from the ocean to European waters through the North Sea and the Baltic. Due to pollution and regulation of river courses, the population of wild salmon has dramatically decreased. It has even become extinct in some rivers.

What Types of Atlantic Salmon Most Often Find Their Way onto the Plates of Poles?
In Polish stores and markets, we can most often purchase the following types of salmon [3]:

Norwegian Salmon

Norwegian salmon is a typical farmed variety. The fish are fed with special feed enriched with a natural dye – carotene, which is responsible for the color of the flesh. The more of it in the diet, the more orange the meat is. Fish of this variety live in netted, floating pens in the Norwegian fjords.

norwegian salmons
norwegian salmons

Baltic Salmon

Another variety of fish available in Poland is the Baltic salmon. It is a wild salmon inhabiting the Baltic Sea, rivers, and freshwater bays. In contrast to the Norwegian variety, its flesh is grayish-white.

Scottish Salmon

The last variety is the Scottish salmon. Like the Norwegian one, it is a farmed fish. The only difference between them is their origin. As the name suggests, it comes from Scotland.

Table No. 1: Common features and differences between Norwegian, Baltic, and Scottish salmon [3].

Living ConditionsFarmedWildFarmed
OriginNorwayBaltic waters, rivers and lakesScotland
Meat colorDepends on the amount of feed with natural dye: shades of orangeGrayish-white, slightly salmon-pinkDepends on the amount of feed with natural dye: shades of orange

Pacific Salmons

Pacific salmons are another fish from the Salmonidae family. Their natural environment is the Pacific and Arctic Oceans. Like the species described earlier, they spend most of their lives in saltwater. They only return to fresh waters, where they hatched from roe, for spawning. This, of course, refers to wild varieties.

The flesh of these fishes is exceptionally delicate, thanks to the conditions in which they live. It’s much lighter than their farmed cousins [4]. In Poland, we can buy frozen Pacific salmon [4].

keta fish
keta fish

How do you store salmon meat?

Frozen fish should be stored according to the recommendations on the package. It is never allowed to freeze the fish again after thawing, even partially.

The situation is different with fresh fish.

It should be filleted or divided into bells, which means slices cut across the spine.
Store in a glass container or foil bag. In the refrigerator for up to a day and in the freezer for a few months [5].

TIP! It is best to thaw the salmon under running water.

Nutritional values

Fish are an excellent source of high-quality protein. Salmon meat contains 20g of protein per 100g of the product. It belongs to the group of fatty fish. It has large amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Due to the content of omega-3 acids, salmon is recommended for the prevention of ischemic heart disease. It also contains fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Table No. 2. Comparison of nutritional values of cooked salmon with smoked [6].

See Also

 Łosoś gotowanyŁosoś wędzony
Caloric content202 kcal/100 g170 kcal/100 g
Protein19,9 g/100 g21,5 g/100 g
Fat13,6 g/100 g9,6 g/100 g
Vitamin D13 micrograms/100 g13 micrograms/100 g
Vitamin A41 micrograms/100 g30 micrograms/100 g
Cholesterol70 mg /100 g70 mg/100 g

Introducing a portion of fish into our diet once a week positively affects [7]:

  • Immune system;
  • Reduces the risk of certain types of cancer;
  • Improves the condition of the body, skin;
  • Lowers blood cholesterol levels;
  • Helps in the management of rheumatic diseases;
  • Supports the treatment of thyroid diseases, heart diseases, atherosclerosis, hypertension;

How to choose the right fish?

We can find many pieces of information about pathogenic substances accumulating in salmon flesh on the internet. They include, among others, tributyltins, which adversely affect the respiratory system and liver [7]. Next are nonylphenols, impairing hormonal metabolism. And lastly, mercury, which also damages the respiratory system, nervous system, and even kidneys. Which salmon to choose to minimize the above substances?

  • If you choose smoked salmon, pick the one cut into even slices of uniform color;
  • Fresh fish flesh should have a light pink – salmon color. Pay special attention to this, as the meat color comes from what the fish is fed. The more feed with dyes, the more intense the orange color of the meat.
  • Look for quality certificate markings on the package. You will be sure that the fish is of good origin.
  • Certificates such as ASC, MSC, RSPCA, and Organic – receiving such certificates means that the salmon is bred with respect for the environment of the seabed and grows in good quality waters.

Culinary use of salmon

Now that we know how to make the right choice of fish, it’s time to cook. Salmon is very simple to process. It is easy to create a gourmet dish in a few minutes. At the same time, by introducing it into our diet, we provide, among others, vitamin D, omega acids, and iodine.

Recipe for baked salmon


  • 2 pieces of salmon fillet;
  • 4 slices of lemon,
  • Lemon juice;
  • 2 tablespoons of butter;
  • Salt;
  • Pepper;
  1. Lay the salmon fillet on a piece of aluminum foil.
  2. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. On each piece of fillet, lay two slices of lemon and drizzle with juice.
  4. Place a tablespoon of butter on top.
  5. Close the aluminum foil to create a pocket so nothing leaks.
  6. Place in an oven preheated to 200 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes.

Recipe for salmon fish cakes


  • 0.5 kg of fresh salmon;
  • 0.5 kg of other meat (e.g., shoulder);
  • 1 large onion;
  • 2 eggs;
  • 5 cloves of garlic;
  • 2 bunches of parsley;
  • 1 tablespoon of salt;
  • 0.5 tablespoon of pepper;
  • Bread crumbs;
  • Fat for frying;
  1. Grind the fish meat and shoulder with the onion using a small-hole grinder.
  2. Crack two eggs into a bowl.
  3. Crush five garlic cloves or cut into fine cubes with a press.
  4. Chop the parsley finely.
  5. Mix the meat, onion, garlic, eggs, parsley, and spices.
  6. Set aside in the refrigerator for an hour.
  7. After this time, thoroughly knead the stuffing with your hands.
  8. Coat in breadcrumbs and fry in oil over medium heat.
  9. Serve the salmon patties with boiled potatoes or groats.


The main contraindication to eating salmon is an allergy to seafood and fish. Patients with liver diseases and tuberculosis should also be cautious.


Salmon is a fish found in waters all around the world. It is worthwhile to incorporate it into your diet once a week. It will provide us with vitamins soluble in fats, iodine, and omega fatty acids. When choosing a fish, consider where it comes from and how it grew up. We can find all the necessary information on the labels of the salmon bought in the store. To ensure the quality of the fish, we should look for certified ones. If we decide to buy fresh fish, let’s examine it thoroughly. Its freshness is primarily indicated by its smell and appearance. The color should be pale pink-salmon.


  1. 26 Interesujących Ciekawostek o Łososiu – Fajne Podróże (
  2. Łosoś – ryba łosoś, łososie ryby (
  3. Łosoś atlantycki – dostawca ryb i importer owoców morza ze Szczecina (
  4. Dziki łosoś pacyficzny z Alaski | Abramczyk
  5. J. Gawęcki „Żywienie człowieka-podstawy nauki o żywieniu” str. 348-349
  6. aplikacja fitatu
  7. H. Stolińska „Zakłamane jedzenie” str. 180 -188