Ocean-grown in their natural environment
At True North's salmon farms, we mirror the natural life cycle of Atlantic salmon in every way. At our farms, the salmon lifecycle starts in our freshwater hatcheries with the egg. Atlantic salmon is an anadromous species, which means they live their life in the ocean but return to freshwater to breed.
When the adult salmon spawn, the eggs are collected and incubated until they are hatched. When the tiny salmon are born, they are called fry and are moved to indoor freshwater pens where they will live for the first year of their lives.
At about one year of age, the salmon are now strong enough for the ocean. Called smolts, they are moved to modern net pens that are moored to the ocean floor in the open sea where they will live for the next 18 months to 2 years.
Here, our Atlantic salmon thrive in their natural habitat. The salmon have plenty of room to swim and nets have been placed over and surrounding the pens to protect the fish from predators. Each farm's location is carefully chosen in areas with the right temperature, deep water and swift currents - the tidal movement flushes out the cages naturally and eliminates waste buildup. On our IMTA (integrated multi-trophic aquaculture) farms, we grow other species like mussels and kelps that extract nutrients from the farm, thereby mimicking nature's balanced eco-system.
The fish are fed special pellets made from animal, plant and fish proteins, and essential vitamins and minerals. The pellets are made from all-natural sources - no dyes, chemicals, or growth hormones are added. Only 20% of our feed comes from fishmeal and fish oil and this is necessary to ensures our salmon have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Underwater cameras are used to monitor the health of the fish while they are feeding to prevent overfeeding.
When the fish reach about 10 pounds, they are harvested in a humane manner and moved to the processing plant where they are cleaned and cut. They are then packed and shipped in refrigerated trucks to the market, arriving typically within 2 days.
Back at the farm the cycle is continued, and the best adults are chosen for selective breeding in our OffspringT™ DNA Traceability Program.
We follow a 3-Bay Management System for our farms. This farming technique allows for crop rotations and the fallowing (or resting) of farms between crops.
Each bay is designated for a particular age of fish: the first area is set aside for the young salmon, the second for market-ready fish, and the third is kept out of production for a designated period to let the ocean floor rest between crops and break the cycle of naturally occurring diseases and parasites. This area management approach allows for the organic renewal of sites between crops and maintains the natural, pristine condition of the ocean for generations to come, as well as the health of the fish.
Though 3-Bay Management Systems are more expensive to operate, they allow for the organic renewal of sites between crops and maintain the natural, pristine condition of the ocean for generations to come, as well as the health of the fish.
Superior quality broodstock
At True North Salmon, producing a superior quality fish is "all in the genes." We raise our salmon naturally and since we don't genetically modify our fish or add growth hormones to their feed, starting with the best fish is of the utmost importance.
Since 2008, we have been leaders in this field with our OffspringT™ DNA Traceability Program. Through this program we continually fine-tune our breeding program to produce and market a better salmon in the most economical and environmentally sound manner.
We also know that when it comes to deciding what to eat and what to feed their families, consumers want to know how fresh their food is and where it was grown. With our OffspringT™ Program, we can track the fish using their DNA! This important component of food safety is called 'traceability' and with it we are able to follow, or trace, our salmon throughout its complete life journey, from egg to plate.
Read more about our traceability program and food safety procedures.
We raise indigenous species in their native habitat
Our Atlantic salmon stock originated from the Saint John River in New Brunswick. They are the real, native fish that have been swimming in Atlantic waters off the coast of the United States and Canada for hundreds of thousands of years.