Healthy Seafood Protein vs Toxic Seafood Protein

There are many factors to consider when choosing which fish to eat, two of which include species (the type of fish) and source (is it farmed or wild caught). These aren’t simple decisions when you consider that the nutritional value of fish varies from species to species, and that each source carries a different potential for contamination, nutrition and environmental impact.

There are millions of fish species, but only a handful are popular for eating. Fish that live in dark, cold waters naturally contain higher levels of Omega 3. The fish richest in omega-3s are cold water fatty fish like salmon, rainbow trout, anchovies, sardines, bass, herring, and tuna.

Next, consider the source. There are two categories of sources of fish: farmed or wild. I am an advocate for the wild caught. The farmed have many contaminants as well as some are fed antibiotics.

If you eat seafood, unless you catch it yourself or ask the right questions, the odds are pretty good it comes from a fish farm. The aquaculture industry is like a fish on steroids, growing faster than any other animal agriculture segment and now accounting for half the fish eaten in the U.S. That is right HALF!

As commercial fishing operations continue to strip the world’s oceans of life, with one-third of fishing stocks  collapsed and the rest headed there by mid-century, fish farming is seen as a way to meet the world’s growing demand. Or is it?

Here’s a frustrating paradox for those who eat fish for their health: the nutritional benefits of fish are greatly decreased when it’s farmed. Take omega-3 fatty acids. Wild fish get their omega-3’s from aquatic plants. Farmed fish, however, are often fed corn, soy, or other feedstuffs that contain little or no Omega 3’s. This unnatural, high-corn diet also means some farmed fish accumulate unhealthy levels of the fatty acids you don’t want. Further, farmed fish are routinely dosed with antibiotics, which can cause antibiotic- resistant disease in humans.

Farmed fish are packed very tightly in the floating bins, much like sardines in a can. These unnatural conditions give rise to diseases and parasites, which often migrate off the farm and infect wild fish populations. On Canada’s Pacific coast, for example, sea lice infestations are responsible for the mass destruction of 80% of pink salmon in some local populations.

Farmed fish waste falls as sediment (poop) to the seabed in sufficient quantities to overwhelm and kill marine life in the immediate vicinity and for some distance beyond. It also promotes algal growth, which reduces water’s oxygen content and makes it hard to support life.

So, next time you order that fish, go beyond asking is it farmed or wild caught. As some servers are trained in saying wild (even though it comes from fish farms in the ocean). Ask specifically if it is wild caught or wild farmed in the ocean. It is NOT the same healthy protien as wild caught.

When buying fish, keep your smartphone handy. You can find very helpful seafood guides on the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Environmental Defense Fund websites.

If you have any questions on toxic vs non toxic seafood protien or how I may compliment your organization’s meeting needs, please see my information below. Stay tuned for my next blog on GMO’s.

Tina Nebuloni

tnebuloni@hpnglobal.com or 636-795-5048.

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