We received an understandable question from longtime customer CR, and thought that our readers would find the response from Vital Choice founder/president Randy Hartnell informative.
Q: Why does the fattiness and color of the meat and oil in your canned Wild Red™ sockeye salmon vary? – CR.
Dear CR, The variations in our canned sockeye reflect the variations natural to wild salmon.
Nutrient levels in salmon vary among different harvest years and regions.
These variables include the amounts and ratios of total fat, omega-3s, vitamin D, and astaxanthin (the beneficial carotenoid-class antioxidant that makes sockeye red).
Some harvest years feature ocean and feed conditions that produce richer, fattier fish than other years.
While we strive to source fish from river systems known to produce the fattiest, richest sockeye salmon, fish from different river systems can co-mingle and end up “off-course”.
For example, a salmon harvest conducted near the mouth of river X – a harvest that would predominantly capture the extra-fatty salmon born in that very long river as they return to spawn – may include leaner (but still succulent) fish from nearby, shorter river Y.
This straying from natal rivers is nature's method of insuring that wild salmon survive occasional environmental calamities, such as when one river's waters or spawning grounds become inhospitable to its sockeye.
Accordingly, from year to year – and sometimes within a single case – you'll find cans containing salmon whose fattiness, oil quantity/color, and flesh color vary from the average.
Our goal is to ensure exceptionally firm, fresh-tasting sockeye, and to pick our fish so that we offer the highest possible average fat content across our entire selection of Wild Red™ canned sockeye.
Our cosmopolitan canned sockeye
Most of our canned sockeye products feature fish caught in the Pacific Ocean off British Colombia, Canada.
A few Wild Red™ canned products contain sockeye caught a little further north, off the coast of Southeastern Alaska.
Salmon are harvested when they migrate from the open ocean to spawn in their birth rivers, and don't recognize borders.
Often, fish from Alaskan rivers are caught in Canada, and vice versa. Our canned salmon product pages and labels disclose the country in whose waters the fish were harvested (always the US or Canada).