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Top 10 Reasons to Not Eat Salmon


With summer on the horizon, many people are thinking about health, fitness, and flaunting their firm forms while having fun in the sun. If you’re eating salmon because you think it’s good for your health-think again. Here are 10 “reel” reasons not to eat it:

1. Salmon Are Smart

Fish are smart. Oxford University scientist Dr. Theresa Burt de Perera recently discovered that fish learn even faster than dogs. Fish learn from each other, have long-term memories, and can recognize one another. They gather information by eavesdropping, and some species even use tools, which, until recently, was thought to be a uniquely human trait. Like the dogs and cats with whom we share our homes, they also like to play, investigate new things, and hang out with friends.

2. Arsenic and Old Waste

Mmmm, want a plate full of poison? Fish have extremely high levels of chemicals such as arsenic, mercury, PCBs, DDT, dioxins, and lead in their flesh and fat. You may even get industrial-strength fire retardant with that catch of the day. The chemical residue found in salmon flesh can be as much as 9 million times that of the water in which they live.

3. Harm at the Farm

Four-fifths of the United States’ most popular fish flesh, salmon, consumed in the U.S. is farm-raised. These fish, who are raised by the millions in cages made of nets in coastal waters, are killing off wild fish populations as well, since it takes 5 pounds of commercially caught fish (species not eaten by humans) to produce 1 pound of farmed fish.

4. Sea Lice Aren’t So Nice

No one wants to wear a “death crown,” but thanks to chronic sea lice, a parasite that eats down to the bones on a fish’s face, salmon commonly suffer this condition. Salmon also routinely go insane and sustain sores and other injuries from intense crowding, as they are made to live their entire lives with as many as 27 fish in a space the size of a bathtub.

5. Slammin’ Salmon 

No, we’re not talking about a baseball player-but fish farmers do often use bats to beat large salmon to death.  All methods used to slaughter fish are grotesque and cruel. Fish have their gills slit while they are still alive, and smaller salmon are often packed in ice and left to slowly suffocate or freeze to death.

6. Open Waters Are Open Sewers

Everybody loves the Big Apple, but would you eat something fished out of the city’s sewer system? According to the Norwegian government, the salmon and trout farms in Norway alone produce roughly the same amount of sewage as New York City. The massive amount of raw sewage, dead fish corpses, and antibiotic-laden fish food sludge settling below farmed salmon cages can actually cause the ocean floor to rot, destroying vital habitat for the already strained marine ecosystem and turning coastal waters into open sewers.

7. Breeding Brain Damage

Usually when Moms pass things on to their children, it’s a good thing-but when pregnant or nursing moms eat fish, they pass the toxins they consume on to their babies. Studies have also shown that children born to mothers who eat fish are slower to talk, walk, and develop fine motor skills and have weaker memories and shorter attention spans. Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health have found that fish consumption can cause irreversible impairment to brain function in children, both in the womb and as they grow.

8. Don’t Forget About the PCBs

Feeling forgetful? There could be something fishy going on. Scientists have proved that people who eat only two servings of fish a month have difficulty recalling information that they learned just 30 minutes earlier. The culprit is high levels of mercury, lead, and PCBs in their blood. PCBs, synthetic chemicals polluting water and concentrated in fish flesh, act like hormones, wreaking havoc on the nervous system and contributing to a variety of illnesses beyond forgetfulness and vertigo, including cancer, infertility, and other sexual problems.

9. For Your Health 

Would you like tartar sauce with those cancer-causing toxins? If you’re feeling green around the gills, salmon could be making you seriously ill. The Environmental Working Group estimates that 800,000 people in the U.S. face an excess lifetime cancer risk from eating farmed salmon. Plus, salmon flesh contains high amounts of artery-clogging cholesterol and fat.

10. Faux Fish

Fake it for salmon’s sake! Tempt your taste buds without tempting fate by trying faux fish. Your local Asian food mart or health-food store likely carries vegetarian mock seafood products that have all the flavor of the “real thing” without the contaminants or cholesterol.

If you’re “fishing” for a heart-smart diet that has been proved to actually reverse heart disease while also reducing the risk of cancer, diabetes, and obesity and that is good for the environment as well as fish-friendly-a vegetarian diet is the perfect catch.

Order a free vegan starter kit  and we’ll send you great-tasting recipes, nutrition information-and everything else you’ll need to try vegan.

Commenting is closed.
  • Tim says:

    While I would agree that farmed salmon is not an ideal food fish in general will not clog your body with fat, just the opposite in fact and artificial products made to resemble fish will probably do you far more harm in the long run. Everyone needs a good source of protein but not everyone can cope with plant based products so perhaps you should acknowlege this simple fact.

  • Tiana says:

    i was eating salmon while reading this. now i feel sick.

  • justtryingtobeatcancer says:

    Is all seafood bad for you

  • Maria says:

    I doubt this is true..

  • luke says:

    Dont forget that biomagnification causes fish to be more toxic than algae. animals are more toxic than the hay or grain they ate. switch toplant based and the amount of contaminants is lower. you will be healthier as a result.

    Also the energy transfer is more efficient to eat algae, grain, and hay. If you want to feed the hungry why not use food efficently? Protein is everywhere, nutrition is higher in plants, and plants are the source of fiber and essential antioxidant/anticancer chemicals that protect us from a toxic environment.

    Anyone can come up with excuses, but the excuses dont stand up to the facts. Anyone who is really interested in better health will only find it by researching and honestly searching for the facts. Remember opinions are like butts lol

  • Alex says:

    After searching the information about safe food, I feel that the only thing I could do is to stop eating altogether. It seems that nothing is safe to eat. Beef, pork,chicken, vegetable, almost everything is contaminated with chemicals. I’m so confused and want to ask you guys and the writer of this artice: what do you eat?

  • Iwona says:

    The primary reason of not eating salmon or other corpses is simply a refusal to participate in the death industry, a personal choice to follow one’s conscience instead of the gurglings of one’s stomach and habit.. that is the main reason.. a good enough to me

  • Angel Food Cake says:

    Everything you eat will eventually kill you. That’s a common known fact. If you’re concerned about being poisoned by the things you eat, then you better stop eating altogether. Everything you eat has poisonous chemicals in it, including organic foods.

  • pakipaki says:

    @JMalone. While many of the reasons pin-point farmed salmon, you’ll see that #’s 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 deal with salmon in general.

  • Alfie Noakes says:

    You forgot to mention that, as a vegetarian, if you don’t get the right in tale of vitamins and minerals, after about 10 years you will both look and feel like a zombie; oh, and for anyone who has ever eaten a bean feast/TVP, you will know just how bad those farts will be… enjoy!

  • Amy says:

    Good, but forgot to add that they are now attempting to genetically ‘modify’ them. GMO salmon, anyone?
    Live and let Live!!!

  • donna kelly says:

    Very informative a vegetarian friend explain too me about eatng fish …I search the web foynd this information. .I m so overwhelmed what I bern putting. In my body. Thinkng the food was healthy it was poisoning.

  • umpan mancing ikan mas says:

    I like salmon fish..but I’m more give respect for what PETA said..because peta always have good program for save the world. Good work PETA.

  • Shane says:

    Great article, talks alot more about farmed salmon as it’s a growing industry tht is becoming 1 of our main sources of salmon. Wild salmon is contaminated by all the worlds polluted waters, thts enough reasons for me 2 stop eating fish. Thank you PETA for all the useful facts you provide us.

  • Catherine says:

    Death IS NOT immediate when the gills are slit. Where did that come from. This article is NOT misleading, it reminds us how toxic open waters are, that fish have a reason to live a full life, like all animals. You have to KNOW that PETA people are ONE SIDED – on the SIDE OF THE ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS.

  • lexc62555 says:

    Slitting the gills of a salmon is actually a human way to kill them for consumption. The gills store the major circulatory system to the heart and once that is cut off the fish immediatly dies. The after affects are the nerve cords reacting to loss of oxygen to the brain… the same thing that can occur in humans after death.


    muy interesante y verdadero


    muy interesante y verdadero

  • Jmalone5 says:

    Sounds to me like you should change the name to 10 reasons not to eat farmed salmon. why make it seems like all salmon is bad for you and the environment? very misleading and one sided article.

  • Janet says:

    sounds interesting.

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