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Q: Why are various species and varieties of salmon different colors?

A: Wild salmon feed on a diet of shrimp and krill, which are rich in carotenoids. Carotenoids are fat-soluble pigments, which give salmon their orange to red color. Depending on the variety and proportion of food available, their color will vary.

Since farm-raised salmon is fed a controlled diet, naturally occurring carotenoids called Astaxanthin and Canthaxanthin are added to the feed. This gives the fish a consistent orange color; otherwise, the meat would be an unappealing gray color. Click here to read more about McCaffrey’s salmon at Seafood 101.

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Tim Rura

Seafood Expert