Rainbow trout

At a glance

Eco-rating Mercury Omega-3s
+-Rainbow (Steelhead) trout (US, farmed)


Steelhead are rainbow trout that spend part of their lives at sea like salmon. On the West Coast of North America, several populations of wild steelhead are either threatened or endangered.

Commercial Sources

Most steelhead on the market are farm-raised in Canada.

Capture Methods

Farmed steelhead are raised in netpens or cages in saltwater like Atlantic salmon.

Recommended servings per month

Contaminant Men Women Kids 6-12 Kids 0-5
Rainbow (Steelhead) trout (US, farmed) Mercury 4+ 4+ 4+ 4+
Eco details: 

These salmon relatives are largely farmed. Conventional operations use large amounts of fishmeal and fish oil (and hence more wild fish) in their feed.

  • All rainbow trout on the U.S. market is farmed-raised in the U.S., where farming operations are held to strict environmental standards. Improvements to feed have enabled less wild fish to be used. Rainbow trout are farmed in raceways, which mimic a free-flowing river and use large amounts of freshwater.
  • Arctic char, a less well-known relative, comes primarily from eco-friendly farms that conserve water and prevent water pollution.
  • Steelhead are raised in open-water netpens, which have problems similar to those for farmed Atlantic salmon, such as polluting local waters.