Sea bass vs. Salmon: Which is Better?

Salmon and sea bass are two popular species of fish used in many dishes. Therefore, many people want to know which is better.

Salmon is better than sea bass because it contains higher percentages of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon contains more protein, B6, B12, B5, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, iron, potassium, calcium and zinc than sea bass. Sea bass contains more unhealthy mercury than salmon. 

This article will include a side-by-side comparison of all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients. In addition, I’ll examine their benefits, tastes, textures, mercury levels, costs and if one can substitute for the other.

Sea bass and Salmon Nutrient Comparison

Atlantic salmon dinner with white rice and vegetables.
Atlantic salmon dinner with white rice and vegetables

As a Certified Health Coach many clients ask me about seafood comparisons including salmon and sea bass. I purchase and consume salmon every week. Therefore, I have researched this topic in the past and present. Let’s examine them closely.

Below is a complete nutrient comparison of seabass and salmon per four ounces:

Nutrient Salmon, raw

(4 Ounces)

Seabass, raw

(4 Ounces)

Calories 161 110
Fat 7.2 g  2.3 g
Protein 23 g  21 g
Omega-3 1.95 g  0.76 g
B-6 0.9 mg  0.4 mg
B-12 3.6 mcg  0.3 mcg
Thiamin 0.20 mg 0.12 mg
Riboflavin 0.40 mg 0.13 mg
B5 1.8 mg 0.8 mg
Iron 0.9 mg 0.3 mg
Niacin 8.9 mg  1.8 mg
Folate 28.3 mcg  5.67 mcg
Potassium 555 mg  290 mg
Magnesium 32 mg  46 mg
Phosphorus 226 mg  220 mg
Calcium 13.6 mg  11.3 mg
Zinc 0.7 mg 0.4 mg
Selenium 41.4 mcg  41.4 mcg

Nutrient source: Nutrition Value12

Sea bass or Salmon: Health

The table above compares the major nutrients, minerals and vitamins side-by-side.

Salmon is healthier than sea bass due to its higher numbers of omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, potassium, calcium and zinc. Sea bass also contains more mercury than salmon and is recommended only once or twice a week by the FDA. Salmon is recommended safe to consume 2-3 times per week.

Sea bass, although not as much as salmon, contains a wide variety of minerals and vitamins also. Sea bass provides less calories and fat and contains more magnesium. They both contain similar numbers of selenium and phosphorus.

The first and foremost reason salmon out performs most fish is the high quantity of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3 fatty acids help lower the risk of experiencing heart attacks, strokes, hypertension and several other heart-related issues ((National Center for Biotechnology: Marine Omega-3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Disease)).

This is primarily because omega-3s keep the arteries strong and healthy and the bad cholesterol in check3.

Believe it or not, salmon is also beneficial to your hair, fingernails and skin. It can aid in the health of your hair and nails’ metabolism.

In addition, the antioxidants in a salmon’s meat can help keep away free radicals that increase the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Salmon, like many other fish, is rich in vitamins, Vitamin B in particular. These vitamins are incredibly important to keeping your heart and blood healthy.

Salmon also contains a mineral called selenium, which is what keeps your hair and nails healthy.

The nice thing is, salmon doesn’t contain any cancer-causing compounds. Many types of red meat have carcinogenic elements that can be dangerous to your health if ingested. Fortunately, that is not something you need to worry about with salmon.

salmon fillet.
Salmon fillet

Salmon does have trace amounts of mercury in it and eating too much of it can cause some issues. You can read more about the mercury levels in the section below about mercury.

Sea bass contains more magnesium than salmon. Why is this important? Magnesium is beneficial for the heart and improves blood pressure. It achieves this by helping the blood vessels to relax.

In addition, magnesium helps controls other nutrients like potassium and calcium which both benefit the heart and blood pressure4.

Protein is a huge contributor to your overall health which both fish contain a large number of. A diet with a good balance of protein means you have a better chance to achieve weight loss goals and you won’t get hungry as often.

Sea bass is chock full of vitamin D which can be absorbed through healthy amounts of sunlight exposure. Although sometimes it is easier to ingest this vitamin through the foods you eat. This is especially true if you live in an area with little sun or during the winter months.

Eating sea bass that is rich in vitamin D may benefit maintaining healthy bones.

Salmon and sea bass are renowned for being a part of many diets like keto or heart healthy. This is due to the high protein, fat and low carbohydrate macros nutrients.

While sea bass may not be as healthy as salmon, what about cod vs salmon? Check out the battle of these heavyweights in my article here, Cod vs Salmon: Is One Better?

Sea bass and Salmon: Tastes and Textures

Seabass are renowned for their medium-firm but flaky and oily meat that can be delightfully moist if cooked correctly. It is probably considered to be one of the most flavorful fish out there. Sea bass has a mildly sweet flavor and meaty consistency.

For those who are new to eating seafood or don’t like an overly fishy smell or taste, sea bass is the fish for them.

Salmon has a rich, buttery flavor. It is a tender fish easy to cut and even easier to eat. Wild caught has a leaner texture than farm-raised salmon.

My Own Poll and Taste Test at Home

First I set up a blind test taste at my home. I prepared both fillets the same way using the same seasonings. Three out of four people, 75% chose the salmon over the sea bass. They said the flavor was better.

To conduct more original research, I wanted to get the opinion of real people like you and me. Therefore, I contacted my clients, readers and members of food groups I belong to. I asked them if salmon or sea bass is what they preferred.

  • 54% said they preferred the taste of salmon.
  • 41% said they preferred the taste of sea bass.
  • 5% said they had no preference, or it depended on their mood.
sea bass.
Sea bass

Sea bass and Salmon: Substitutions

You may have some sea bass but not any salmon which a recipe calls for. Let’s examine our substitution possibilities.

Sea bass and salmon can substitute for each other when cooking seafood, although they have different textures and tastes. They both can be cooked using the same methods like pan-fried, slow-roasted, poached, baked or searing in a pan.

When substituting sea bass for salmon, certain sauces that go well with an oily fish like salmon won’t go as well with a sea bass5.

Sea bass substitutes:

  • Striped bass
  • Cod
  • Grouper
  • Snapper

Salmon substitutes:

  • Trout
  • Arctic char
  • Mackerel
  • Bluefish
  • Striped bass
  • Mahi mahi

Trout, one of the substitutes listed above for salmon, is known to be healthy also. I compared the two in my article, Trout vs Salmon: Is One More Healthier Than The Other?

When substituting one type of fish for another, try following these tips:

  • Pick similar fillets, whole fillet or cross section.
  • Always choose the same weight and size.
  • If the recipe calls for skinless, choose skinless and visa versa.
  • When grilling a firm texture is more important.
  • Substitute a fatty or lean fish for the same.

Sea bass vs Salmon: Cost

The costs for sea bass or salmon will vary depending on how the fish are caught. A salmon caught in the ocean will definitely be more expensive than farm-raised salmon.

When purchasing salmon or sea bass, be sure to check the label to see if it is wild-caught or farm raised.

Sea bass is more expensive than salmon. The average cost for sea bass is $22.49 per pound while the average cost for salmon is $12.65 per pound. The cost will vary depending on location, whether it is farm-raised or wild-caught, fresh or frozen.

I checked the local Freshdirect online supermarket for the current prices of each.

  • Fresh, farm raised Atlantic salmon
    • $11.99 per pound
  • Fresh, wild caught Coho salmon
    • $14.99 per pound
  • Fresh Atlantic salmon steak
    • $10.99 per pound.
  • Wild Black Sea bass fillet
    • $24.99 per pound
  • Farm-raised branzino fillet
    • $19.99 per pound
  • Wild Chilean sea bass fillet
    • $34.99 per pound

I removed the Chilean sea bass from the above average cost because it is much more expensive than any other sea bass. Although Chilean sea bass is really not sea bass anyway.

Find out what fish are good substitutes for sea bass in my article, Sea Bass Substitutes: 10 Healthy Alternatives.

Sea bass and Salmon Mercury Levels

The EPA and FDA have issued warnings and suggestions regarding mercury levels in fish and how often they should be consumed6. This is especially important for young infants, developing children and pregnant women.

They established a list of best fish, good choices and ones to avoid based on their mercury levels.

Black Sea bass and salmon have similar levels of mercury. Striped ocean bass contain more mercury than salmon. Black Sea bass and salmon are listed on the FDA’s best choices of fish to consume regarding their mercury levels. Striped bass is listed as a good choice which should be limited to one serving a week.

Always check with a physician prior to eating new foods or changing your dietary habits.

If you have any questions to ask me about this article don’t hesitate to comment below or email us. You can find an email on our contact page.

Read Next – More Salmon vs Fish Articles!

Salmon Oil vs Fish Oil: Which Is Better?

Pink vs Red Salmon: What’s The Difference?

Tuna vs Salmon: Which Is Better?

Halibut vs Salmon: Which Is Better?

Keta vs Sockeye Salmon: What’s The Difference?

  1. Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, mixed species, sea bass []
  2. Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, wild, Atlantic, salmon []
  3. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Benefits of salmon eating on traditional and novel vascular risk factors in young, non-obese healthy subjects []
  4. National Institutes of Health: Magnesium []
  5. Sea Grant North Carolina: Fish Flavors and Substitutions []
  6. FDA: Advice about Eating Fish []

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