Shrimp vs. Salmon: A Complete Comparison

Salmon and shrimp can be found in oceans and rivers, but they’re typically not too close to one another. However, these sea dwellers are some of the most commonly known and consumed. Some people have asked, what is healthier salmon or shrimp?

Salmon is healthier than shrimp because it contains 2,260 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids compared to 295 mg for shrimp. Salmon provides more protein, Vitamin C, folate, potassium, niacin, phosphorus and selenium than shrimp. Shrimp contains more than twice the cholesterol.

Salmon and shrimp are both recommended fish choices by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Therefore, this article will make a complete comparison of the two including nutritional value, health, tastes, habitats, climates, appearances and which one is better for weight loss.

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Shrimp vs Salmon Nutrition

Nutrient Salmon, Farmed/Cooked (3.5 Ounces) Shrimp/Cooked (3.5 Ounces)
Calories 206 84
Fat 12.3 g  0.9 g
Protein 22.1 g  17.8 g
Omega-3 2,260 mg  295 mg
Omega-6 666 mg  17.9 mg
B-6 0.6 mg  0.1 mg
B-12 2.8 mcg  1.3 mcg
Vitamin C 3.7 mg  1.9 mg
Vitamin A 50.0 IU  191 IU
Niacin 8.0 mg  2.2 mg
Folate 34.0 mcg  3.4 mcg
Potassium 384 mg  155 mg
Magnesium 30.0 mg  28.9 mg
Phosphorus 252 mg  116 mg
Calcium 15.0 mg  33.2 mg
Zinc 0.4 mg 1.3 mg
Selenium 41.4 mcg  33.7 mcg

What really separates the two and gives salmon the edge over shrimp is the number of omega-3 fatty acids 1. What makes omega-3s so important for your health?

Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential because your body doesn’t make them and the only way to get them is from your diet. Omega-3s have been shown in studies to improve artery health, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cancer 2.

The Journal of the American Heart Association published a study, from an updated study by JAMA Cardiology, which found fish with omega-3 supplements lowered risk for heart attacks and death from coronary heart disease 3.

Although salmon is considered healthier, shrimp is still considered a healthy fish and provides almost the same magnesium and selenium. Shrimp contains more zinc, calcium, vitamin A and less calories than salmon 4.

Shrimp contains more than twice the cholesterol than salmon. Shrimp contains 166 mg and salmon has 53.5 mg. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 5 list both shrimp and salmon in their list of best fish choices to eat.

How did sardines compare to salmon? Find out in my article, Sardines vs Salmon: A Complete Comparison.

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Shrimp Or Salmon For Weight Loss

Many people are looking to lose weight, and the type of food consumed can make a difference with weight loss. If you fit into this category, you’ll want to know, which is better for weight loss, shrimp or salmon?

Shrimp contains less calories when consuming an equal number of ounces between shrimp or salmon. A 3.5 ounce serving of salmon contains 206 calories, and shrimp contains 84 calories. The lesser number of calories contained in shrimp is better for weight loss.

Shrimp vs Salmon: Taste

What’s the difference between shrimp and salmon taste? Salmon has a rich, oily, non fishy taste compared to shrimp’s more fishier, sweeter taste. Shrimp has a meatier texture while softer salmon breaks apart easier than shrimp.

Salmon is softer and can be eaten easily without cutting with a knife. Salmon will break apart using a fork only. Shrimp doesn’t break apart and has to be eaten whole or cut with a knife or biting.

Salmon is a powerhouse and so is trout. Check out my article and find out which one is healthier, Trout vs Salmon: Is One More Healthier Than The Other?

Shrimp vs. Salmon: Habitat and Climate

Let’s explore shrimp and salmon in more detail and discuss the differences between the two. What’s the difference between shrimp and salmon?

Shrimp are small crustaceans with ten legs which dwell near the bottom of coastal seas or rivers, while salmon swim from top to bottom with their fins. Salmon can be found farther out in the ocean or river than shrimp, but they both enjoy warm water.

Shrimp and salmon don’t look the same whatsoever, but they often enjoy similar habitats and climates 6.

Shrimp have a higher tolerance for heat, often living in boiling parts of the ocean floor exceeding 740 degrees Fahrenheit.

The primary differences and similarities between a shrimp and salmon’s habitat and climate

What climate do shrimp prefer? Shrimp enjoy living in warm water. They often stay low to the ocean’s floor to remain hidden from predators while finding the food they need to survive. Furthermore, they need plenty of mud or debris to protect themselves.

What type of climate does a salmon live in? Most salmon live in warm water. They often swim in the icy waters of the North Pacific until they get too cold during the winter. Once this process occurs, they swim toward the local rivers to stay warm, breed and spawn.

What does a shrimp need in its habitat? Shrimps typically look for places with sticks, algae, coral and fallen debris. They rarely live in an open space and almost always travel together. These tiny crustaceans need to stick together to survive and thrive.

How is a salmon’s habitat? Salmon can be found in brackish water and cloudy rivers, but they often seek clean, clear water. They typically follow warm water temperatures and insects they need to eat along the way.

Both species have to travel in their respective groups to breed and survive. As you can see, their habits aren’t too different. That being said, you’ll soon learn why you’ll never confuse a shrimp with a salmon in the following section.

How Different Do Salmon and Shrimp Look?

Shrimp and salmon look nothing alike. Salmon are several times bigger, have fins, large mouths and eyes. A shrimp is smaller, has ten legs and plated gills. Let’s explain their differences in detail.

A Salmon’s Appearance

Depending on the salmon, they fish often have silver, brown or dark green skin. They’re equipped with many fins to propel themselves through the water.

Most salmon have a light-colored body that makes them distinguishable from other fish with dark-colored skin 7.

Since there are so many types of salmon, it’s impossible to pinpoint a uniform appearance. There are six primary species of salmon in the world, but many subspecies can add up to dozens of appearances.

A Shrimp’s Appearance

A shrimp has ten legs, a curved body and plated gills that protect them from predators 8. Unlike salmon, they can stop and change directions, often swimming backward.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 9, a shrimp’s unique body shape lets them wiggle back and forth to determine their direction rather than relying on fins.

Shrimp can’t eat much more than decaying plants, algae and dead insects, but they have countless predators. Many shrimp have a sharp beak on the front of their face as a defense mechanism against fish and crustaceans of similar size.

There are many other differences between salmon and shrimp, including the fact that a shrimp weighs about 3 grams, whereas some salmon weigh over 13,000 grams.

Where Can You Find Shrimp and Salmon?

You can find shrimp and salmon in similar habitats and climates, which might lead you to believe they live right next to each other. While it’s entirely possible, shrimp have a broader range of locations to choose from.

Where to Find Salmon

  • Salmon are most commonly found near the Americas. Salmon can live in saltwater and freshwater environments. This means they can swim from the Atlantic Ocean into the Great Lakes and out to the Pacific through connecting rivers if they wanted to.
  • Many salmon can swim into lakes and rivers between oceans. As mentioned above, they follow the seasons without much regard to the water’s salinity. This allows them to breed and spawn without endangering their species in a predictable location to local predators (aside from humans).

Where to Find Shrimp

  • Most shrimp live throughout the world near coastal oceans. Shrimp often stay close enough for sunlight to penetrate the water, but some shrimp live thousands of feet below the surface.
    • Coastal shrimp make up the vast majority of their kind, swimming near the beach in hopes of catching dead snails, worms and fallen shrimp.
  • River shrimp typically live near the Southern U.S., Gulf of Mexico, and various nearby drainage basins. While not all shrimp can swim in rivers, these unique crustaceans often use small, fast-moving bodies of water to move around.
    • Unlike their coastal shrimp relatives, river shrimp are only found in a small part of the world.

Whether you’re fishing for them or simply interested in knowing how they live their daily lives, shrimp and salmon are undoubtedly unique creatures. They overlap in places like the Pacific and Atlantic oceans near North and South America.

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The Cost of Shrimp and Salmon

The cost of either shrimp or salmon will differ depending on the location, fresh or frozen and whether it’s farm raised or wild caught. Which is more expensive, shrimp or salmon?

Salmon is more expensive than shrimp. The average cost for salmon is $12.49 per pound while the average cost for shrimp is $10.99 per pound. The cost will vary depending on location, whether it is farm-raised or wild-caught, fresh or frozen.

I checked my local Shoprite Supermarket for the current prices of each.

  • Fresh, farm raised shrimp
    • $8.99 per pound.
  • Fresh, wild caught shrimp
    • $12.99 per pound
  • Fresh, farm raised Atlantic salmon
    • $9.99 per pound
  • Fresh, wild caught Coho salmon
    • $14.99 per pound

To save some money on fresh seafood, would you believe some can be purchased on Amazon? Check out their current prices and selection, Fresh Seafood.

Read Next – More Food vs Food Articles!

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Farm Raised Salmon Compared To Wild Caught Salmon

Frozen Salmon vs Canned Salmon: Which is Healthier?

Article Resources: Foods For Anti-Aging follows strict guidelines to ensure our content is the highest journalistic standard. It's our mission to provide the reader with accurate, honest and unbiased guidance. Our content relies on medical associations, research institutions, government agencies and study resources. Learn more by reading our editorial policy.
  1. NutritionData: Salmon[]
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Risk and benefits from consuming salmon and trout: a Canadian perspective[]
  3. National Center for Biotechnology: Marine Omega-3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Disease[]
  4. NutritionData: Shrimp[]
  5. USDA: Dietary Guidelines[]
  6. The University of Maine: Maine Seafood Guide – Shrimp[]
  7. The University Of Maine: Maine Seafood Guide – Salmon[]
  8. US Affiliated Pacific Food Guide: Shrimp (Caridea)[]
  9. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: Shrimp FAQ[]

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