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Verlasso featured on NYC newschannel, NY1

By Kafi Drexel

From farmed versus wild to sustainable versus unsustainable, experts have many tips to help consumers get their hooks into the best fish selection for one’s diet. NY1’s Health reporter Kafi Drexel filed the following report.

When it comes to picking the right fish, sometimes it can feel more like a big-game competition than a shopping trip.

Fishmongers say a bulk of their time is still spent sorting out conflicting information on a debate that has been going for years. Which is healthier, farmed fish raised commercially in tanks or enclosures or wild-caught fish from natural waters? 

”There has just been a lot of negative media that’s focused on the ill effects of farmed salmon,” says Brendan Hayes, the retail director at The Lobster Place in Chelsea. “People make sweeping generalizations based on the entire farmed fish category because of certain things they might read. And the fact of the matter is over the past 10 years there’s been tremendous innovation within the aquaculture industry.”

Health experts recommend eating fish like salmon at least twice a week because of heart healthy Omega-3 content, but the verdict is still out whether wild or farmed fish has more nutritional value.

Something to look out for is new subcategories of farm-raised fish. To stay competitive, some companies are creating their own.

The online grocer FreshDirect, which has a warehouse in Long Island City, Queens, is one of the first to sell a new salmon product from fish company Verlasso which is being dubbed “harmoniously raised.” 

”‘Harmoniously raised’ salmon is different than traditionally raised salmon because it takes a lot of care into healthy environments, the health and welfare of the fish itself and then the health of the consumer,” says Maggie Moon, RD, a nutritionist at FreshDirect.

Other fish sellers and nutritionists will say it is a smart marketing tool, but the fish, which is supposed to be leaner because of their diet, may be a healthier choice for both consumers and the ecosystem. 

”With these ‘harmonious fish,’ they are only feeding off of one pound of fish, whereas regular farmed salmon are feeding off four pounds of feeder fish, and that’s what they are getting their Omega-3s from,” says nutritionist Amie Valpone of “So if we think about it the four pounds for feeder fish versus one pound, it’s a heck of a lot better for the environment.”

Original article and accompanying video can be found here.

The Daily Meal shines a spotlight on Verlasso

By Yasmin Fahr, Editor

Farm-Raised salmon gets better, in all kinds of ways.

Farm-raised fish has gotten a bad rap, and not entirely without reason. Water pollution, the spread of disease and parasites, negative impact on both wild salmon and forage fish, and other issues have made aquaculture a dirty word to many environmentalists.

It doesn’t have to be, according to a relatively new company called Verlasso, which raises fish in the cold, clear waters of Chilean Patagonia. Verlasso, says Scott Nichols, one of its six directors, strives to be “the best salmon farmers on the market.”

As another Verlasso director, the appropriately named Allyson Fish, explains, healthy protein sources are becoming more and more difficult to find, while demand for them increases, and responsible aquaculture can help satisfy the need. Nichols has worked on biodiversity projects in Africa and South America and Fish is a former Fellow of the Environmental Defense Fund, so both realized the necessity of creating a better salmon product without damaging the environment. They call their approach “harmonious evolution” — a term they prefer to “sustainable,” which they think has been overused.

One of Verlasso’s tactics is reducing reliance on herring, mackerel, and other feeder fish by 75 percent without sacrificing the omega-3 oil content of their salmon. As Fish explains it, like us, salmon get omega-3’s from what they eat — it’s found in the fish oil of smaller fish. Verlasso has been able to create a food based on an algae-based yeast that provides their salmon with all of necessary protein, oil, and nutrients they need, while cutting down on their reliance on feeder fish. Because of this, Verlasso is able to provide a consistently high level of omega-3’s in their salmon, as compared to other farm-raised fish or wild salmon (which see fluctuations in their levels depending on their diet).

Additionally, the waters where the fish are raised are not depleted of natural resources and left full of waste, because after each harvest the waters are left fallow — much like fields on a farm — by removing all the salmon for four months so that the water can rejuevinate. There is minimal human interaction and absolutely no industrial development, as you can see by the video on their site.

The most important part of this all that we haven’t touched on yet is the taste. It may be all well and good for the environment and be a healthy product, but if it doesn’t taste good, then it’s really of no help to anyone. Lucky for them and us, the salmon tastes fantastic.

Our editorial team was lucky enough to sample Verlasso’s salmon to create the delicious recipes below and we all noticed the same thing: the salmon was less fatty and oily than other farm-raised salmon, but had an incredibly clean mouthfeel and lightness to it. Now sold on Fresh Direct and in Portland, Ore., Verlasso is making its way around the country and into our kitchens.

Choosing to purchase fish responsibly at home is not a new concept, but it is a growing one. We realize that making the right choice can seem difficult, so make sure to check out resources like our Sustainable Seafood Guide and other sites like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, as well as the Environmental Defense Fund.

And when you do make your salmon choice, we hope you decide to try one of our recipes below.

Original article can be found here.

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