Seafood is the most valuable and highly traded food commodity in the world. Billions of people rely on it for food and employment. And it is very good for you. Or is it? We need to be very careful when buying or ordering seafood at a restaurant.
Wild caught seafood is excellent for your health, but farm raised seafood is not. In fact, farm raised seafood is inflammatory.
91% of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported, and a significant portion of that fish is unsustainably farmed and is unhealthy for us.
The most common species of farm raised fish are salmon, tilapia, cod, catfish, sea bass and carp. These fish are tightly packed in either tanks or cages with thousands of other fish.
They are typically fed fish food (anchovies, sardines, mackerel or herring) then finished with fish meal of soy, corn or other grain to fatten them up. As a result of this type of feeding, farmed fish is high in Omega-6 not Omega-3 oil that we are all led to believe. It is inflammatory! Be careful.
The farmed fish are typically fed antibiotics to prevent infection (they get into you and can cause harm).
Farm raised fish typically have 20% less protein than do wild fish.
The amount of PCB (Polychlorinated biphenyls) toxins is up to 16 times more and dioxin is 11 times more than in wild caught fish.
Alaska exports 2/3 of its sustainable-harvested seafood to foreign markets, mostly China and Japan. It is illegal to farm raise fish in Alaska.
The consumption of salmon surpassed tuna in 2013 in the US.
70% of salmon is exported from the US to China and Japan.
70% of the salmon imported to the US is from China, that was obtained from Russia (farm raised). Read that again. We export 70% of the salmon to China and Japan, and then import 70% from China to this country (farm raised in Russia). The other countries where we import salmon is Chile, Canada, Scotland, and Norway and all are listed as “avoid” by the Seafood Watch group.
We export the very best fish and import some of the worst alternatives. Why?
Oceana, an organization devoted to protecting sea life in the oceans (usa.oceana.org), conducted a DNA testing study on salmon collected from restaurants and stores across the US. They found that 47% of the samples of the wild salmon were either Atlantic farm raised salmon or a totally different species. The breakdown was 67% of restaurants and 20% of grocery stores mislabeled the fish. Smaller stores were 8x more likely to mislabel as opposed to large chain stores (ShopRite, Whole Foods and Wegman’s). The highest frequency of mislabeling was during the winter when it is off season for salmon.
By the way, Atlantic salmon has been almost non-existing since the 1800’s when the construction of dams and industrial waste almost eliminated the spawning grounds of the fish and subsequently the numbers took a nosedive. As a result, virtually all Atlantic salmon is farm raised. Wild Atlantic salmon is now extremely rare.
Farm raised fish industry started to take off in the 1980’s and is currently exploding largely attributed to lack of standards and a large illegal market. In Europe, fish must be labeled with the commercial name of the fish, the scientific name, the relevant geographical catch area, the production method and if the fish product was previously frozen. Not so in the US. When you purchase your fish, ask the fishmonger those questions. If they cannot answer you, walk away.
For every pound of salmon flesh, it must consume 2-3 lbs. of other fish. This impacts negatively on the small fish in the ocean. We believe it is best to avoid farm raised fish, period.
To read Oceana’s executive report, click on the following link:
Excellent wild and sustainably caught seafood can be found at VitalChoice from Alaska