About half of the world’s seafood comes from industrial fish farms, and that number is rapidly growing. Farmed fish may seem like a good way to protect wild fish populations, but the industry is rampant with pollutions, inferior nutritional values and diseases.
Health-conscious consumers flee to fish for the health benefits and freshness, but don’t be fooled. Because such a huge portion of fish is farmed, even labels like “Atlantic Salmon” don’t mean the fish is coming from the Atlantic Ocean (in fact, almost all Atlantic Salmon is farm raised.) But lucky for you, many Jacksonville restaurants, especially the Fish Camps, strictly serve wild fish.
Or lack of health benefits, that is. The omega-3 levels aren’t what you think. In fact, they’re reduced by about 50% in farmed fish because of the high amounts of legume and grain (soy) feed. For example, farmed salmon is much fattier than wild salmon but contains MUCH less protein and healthy omega-3s.
Farmed fish will pump your body with the inflammation producing omega-6 fatty acids, and very little inflammation fighting omega-3s. Fighting inflammation is so important because it’s directly linked to diabetes, cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and coronary artery disease. For your health’s sake, seek out wild fish.
Farmed fish are often raised in small pens in the ocean, and are given pesticides and chemicals that easily contaminate any wild fish swimming in the vicinity. Sea lice, a crustacean common in penned fish, is the cause of the decline in pink salmon and the animals that eat them (bears, orcas, eagles.) Multiple other lethal viruses in fish farms are showing up in wild fish: salmon leukemia virus, piscine reovirus, infectious salmon innemia virus (ESA).
Because of the crowded conditions, farmed fish are routinely given antibiotics to prevent infections. The use of antibiotics in this way not only raises concern for residual antibiotic in the actual fish, but actually makes bacteria in humans more and more resistant to the very antibiotics we need to fight serious diseases.
The food pellets used to feed farmed fish are almost always composed of small fish caught in polluted waters close to shore. Because of the high levels of industrials chemicals that are in the farm fish we eat, we are directly exposed to poisons that can cause memory problems, cancers and neurobehavioral problems. For example, farmed salmon contains seven times more pesticides, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and dioxins than wild salmon, all of which are linked to the diseases mentioned.
If that’s not enough, farmed salmon meat is gray in color opposed to a natural, bright pink. To make farmed salmon more desirable, it’s pumped with dyes to give the appearance of wild salmon. Yum.
The many benefits of wild caught fish:
1. Wild caught fish, especially salmon, have impressive levels of Omega 3 fatty acids. Our bodies don’t produce these necessary fats, so we have to get them from food.
2. Cold water fish are a great source of Vitamin D. The sun is our best source of this extremely important nutrient, but cold water fish is a great way to get these nutrients without being in direct sunlight.
3. Fresh, wild fish are free from pesticides, antibiotics and artificial dyes because they roam the water for natural food.
4. Unlike the abundance of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBS) in farmed fish, wild fish contain little to none. PCBs are a super toxic compound that’s eight times more present in farmed fish.
5. No disease, pests or lice here! Antibiotics, pesticides, GMOs and herbicides aren’t the side dish you’re looking for.
Scary stuff. If the health of you or the environment is of any concern to you, wild fish is always your best bet. Always read labels carefully and ask your grocer or waiter to verify the quality of the fish. The cons of farmed fish clearly outweigh the pros, and we know that. You can have a peace of mind in knowing we only serve the best and freshest wild fish. Smart, we know.