Farmed or Wild?
As if we need yet another choice at the grocery store (organic or local? paper or plastic?) we now get to think about whether we should purchase wild caught or farm-raised fish. Though both options seem to have their downsides, I am leaning more towards eating SMALL amounts of wild caught and here’s why:
To feed farmed salmon (for example), we’re actually draining the oceans of other species of fish. To produce one pound of farm-raised salmon, you need three pounds of wild fish such as sardines, anchovies, herring and mackerel among others. These smaller fish are what sustain the majority of marine life and we are depleting the resource rapidly. According to the Pure Salmon Campaign, two-thirds of a farmed salmon’s diet is fishmeal or fish oil, both products of these smaller wild fish.
To combat this issue, we are getting closer and closer to implementing the same type of system that we devised for agriculture. And that system is to find the cheapest, quickest most efficient source of protein. Whether it be a soy-bean based diet, a corn based diet, or a mixture of animal by-products, we are about to change the type of protein fish eat. In essence, engineering our food.
There are a multitude of other problems associated with farming fish, but one of the biggest is the spread of sea lice from farms to wild populations. Watch this video to learn more about how open net fish farms are affecting wild populations of salmon, particularly in the Pacific Northwest:
It’s time we take a closer look at the systems that produce our food, particularly aquaculture. Many generations, populations and cultures have subsisted on fish as a sustainable, healthy source of protein that also nourishes surrounding ecosystems.