Sunday, May 20, 2012

Farm Raised vs Wild Caught Fish

Farm Raised vs. Wild Caught....What's the difference? Which is better?

When you think of fish, in terms of food, you immediately think "Healthy"... right?  I know I do! Salmon, Tilapia, Cod, Sea Bass, and various other types of fish are packed with omega 3 fatty acids, rich in various types of nutrients, high in protein and all the while being super low in calories and fat. So what exactly is the problem here?  Well, depending on where your fish comes from, you might be getting a side of antibiotics or PCBs that you're unaware of.  

Sounds a little FiShY doesn't it?

This past weekend was the annual Golf and Fishing Charity Tournament put on by the team.  It's a great way to mix giving back to the community and FUN altogether in one weekend!  Tons of good food, great people and lots and lots of fish!  
Ryan and I love to go deep sea fishing and it's probably why we get so excited about this Fins Weekend every year.  We caught 3 good size Dolphins (Mahi Mahi, not bottle nose dolphins) and 1 Triple Tale.  It was a pretty exciting day, but the best part is getting to stock our freezer with fresh, wild caught fish straight from the sea! 


This of course got me thinking about Farm Raised vs. Wild Caught...I've heard some good and bad about both so I thought I would do some research myself and find out which is truly better...


Farm Raised- Consists of raising fish commercially in tanks, enclosures and controlled pens across the country usually in lakes, ponds, rivers and oceans.  Due to their compact living situations and feed, they tend to have more diseases, toxins, artificial dyes, antibiotics and contain more fat then compared to their wild caught versions. 

Wild Caught - These fish tend to be higher in Omega 3 fatty acids, protein and contain very low levels of disease as well as being free from antibiotics, pesticides & artificial dyes. Wild caught are obviously free to roam about the ocean and find their own food which results in them containing less fat then the farm raised versions.  While mercury can be an issue with wild caught, it can be just as much of an issue with farm raised fish that are raised in the ocean. The only down side is that wild caught fish tend to cost 3-4 times more than farm raised fish. 



Summary
While fish farming's main purpose was to meet the increase in demand of fish, keep the costs low and decrease the levels of mercury; the added antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, GMOs and artificial dyes, not to mention the harmful effects it has on the environment, outweighs all the good.  Although there are some exceptions, it's generally safest to stay away from farm raised fish if you can, and instead consider buying wild caught. It may cost a bit more but just think of all the harmful PCB chemicals and additives you'll avoid while getting more essential Omega 3's and protein!  It is definitely the healthier and overall better choice :)


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Source
Photo: http://www.greenprophet.com/2011/06/fish-farming/
Photo: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=farm-raised-fish-not-free-mercury-pcb-dioxin
http://blisstree.com/eat/nutrition/buy-the-right-fish-wild-caught-vs-farm-raised-713/
http://www.emagazine.com/earth-talk/concerns-about-farm-raised-fish
http://www.shapefit.com/salmon-farmed-wild.html
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45 comments:

  1. Do you know anything about the sustainability of farm raised vs. wild? That's another thing I try to take into consideration, but I don't know anything about it

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    1. We have over fished the oceans, with 75% of all species in decline, some making the endanger list. Ocean caught fishing, is NOT sustainable, while farmed fish. If the fish are raised in U.S. or Europe, the issues of pesticides, mercury, PCB's, most antibiotics, pests and et al. are not a consideration. Only fish raised in Asian countries, China, Thailand, Vietnam, etc. don't have the same restrictions as U.S./Europe, and their fish contain all sorts of unwanted material!

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    2. ok, the article could be a little one-sided, no? Specally when you talk about mercury. MAny wild species are high on mercury levels, not only salmon. I think there are good and bad things about both sources, mostly when it comes to sustainability. we all know that overfishing is killing our oceans, but SOME cultured fish also feed on wild fish...On the other hand organic and multitrophic fish farming are starting to become popular, and that may be the answer to healthy, safe and sustainable source of fish. FAO and many others have a lot of material on sustainable fishing and fish farming! google it, it is a whole universe! ;) cheers!!

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    3. A few points: salmon farming apparently perhaps affects wild salmon populations in a drastically bad manner. Unsure about the claim, as is ubiquitous.And have not researched properly.

      Also, as per some thoughts - providers the fish or diet contains enough selenium, the selenium should chelate the mercury, and render the mercury inert.

      Also related, entirely healthy gut flora (no small ibtestine bacterial overgrowth, all ~6 lbs. Of guy flora intact, no irritable bowel syndrome, ongoing proliferation of proper intestinal flora, enough bile, enough hydrochloric acid produced by the stomach...), mercury should also be protected against. (Also unsure 100% if this is true, or addresses other potential toxins such as environmental pollutants, but it likely could.). The selenium chelation seems quite valid. Intestinal flora and health is important to health regardless, but unsure about protection against contaminants, e.g. in fish. 3rd point was found on the Weston A. Price Foubdation website.

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    4. The idea that farmed fish are more sustainable than wild fish is a fallacy. Except for fish like tilapia, the feed for the fish comes from the ocean.

      It would be the same as saying that eating cows is more sustainable than eating deer, except that in order to raise cows you had to go hunt deer and feed them to the cows.

      To make one pound of farmed salmon you need to feed them seven pounds of fish. So the farms are still putting pressure on the oceans and removing biomass. While at the same time polluting the areas that they are situated in with fish waste and disease from concentration such an unnatural number of fish in one location.

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    5. Cows don't eat deer

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    6. the numbers are way off. maybe back in 2000 it was seven pounds. Now its around 3.

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    7. farmed fish are usually fed corn, which lowers omega 3 and raises omega 7 which is actually bad for you. a lot of problems with feeding corn to animals such as chickens and cows as well. do you know our beef is washed in ammonia to kill e. coli which only develops in beef raised on corn? do you know 99% of our tilapia comes from china where its used to clean the rivers and streams of human feces. That tilapia is not allowed to be sold as food to the Chinese so they ship it here. I started raising tilapia at home, eats mostly vegetation and I know what my fish eat, so I know what I eat. got my tilapia from fishkis.com

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  2. A great resource for sustainable fish choices is the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch website. On there you can find regional guides to sustainable fish choices. They have pocket guides that you may print out and take with your anywhere or there is now an app you can download. I use it all the time as a guide when I'm at the store or out at a restaurant.
    http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx?c=dd

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  3. Agree with your points. Studies done in USA, UK, Canada and in other parts of Europe confirm that farm raised fish do not contain the same level of Omega-3 and also farm raised fish contains antibiotics, coloring agents and pesticides that are not present in wild caught fish. Monterey Bay aquarium is a good source to determine what seafood to avoid and what is a best choice for consumption.

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    1. Thank you for the source, I will be sure to check that out!

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    2. Something to research is salmon farms in British Columbia, Canada! A lot of government cover up going on there! The diseases from the farm raised salmon definitely can affect the wild salmon! All about international trade and money. Very sad!

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  4. I raise fish indoors for food consumption in a RAS system without antibiotics, hormones, steriods or any other chemicals. Yes there are companies that do these things but please do not lump us all into one category. Check us out at willoughbyperch.com and please leave a comment card with any questions or concerns. Thank You Mike Cosper Farm Manager Willoughby Ohio Aquatic Farm.

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    1. I apologize for lumping you all into one group....I am so very aware that there are small farming practices that are very honorable and you are obviously one of those! I will be sure to go back in and edit this post, I am so very supportive of organic, antibiotic free farming, etc. Thank you for opening my eyes to this and making me aware of needing to cover all my bases in my posts! I will be sure to check out your site too!! Thank you!

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    2. Thanks for writing this post, it's a great jumping off point for an article I'm doing. :)

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    3. I don't see any edits made.

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  5. thanks for writing this post I am doing a research paper and needed help, thanks

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  6. Thank You Susanah for responding to my post, I hope you had a chance to check us out online. I would be curious to know what you think. Thank You again,
    Mike Cosper

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  7. I looked at the fish farm mentioned, and didn't see any info on what the fish are fed. I like the idea of aquaculture outside of our natural waterways, but then my concerns go to the fish's diet. I'm sure they are getting some grains, corn in particular and probably soy too, all GMO. Is it also supplemented with wild-caught fish as well, per the usual? Willoughby's deserves commendation if they really are avoiding all the antibiotics, and should market that to their advantage.

    My family loves fish, and this is an issue I keep going around on - if it's possible to sustainably consume it, and avoid all the harmful things you mentioned. Great post!

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    1. The open pen salmon feedlot is in no way sustainable - salmon are carnivores that rely on a diet of wild fish - often harvested where human populations rely on these same small fish (anchovies, sardines, etc) in their diets. Of course other larger fish also rely on these forage fish. The growing demand for salmon is driven via marketing as people in developing nations are unable to afford the stuff. This industry must be taken down - the sooner, the better for people and wildlife!

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  8. No-one should ever eat or buy salmon raised in open net-cages, particularly those on the coast of British Columbia, Canada. These feedlots are breeding grounds for sea-lice and diseases, which pass easily through the open cages to passing wild Pacific salmon. Migrating young wild salmon don't yet have scales to fight off the sea lice, and wild salmon of any age are susceptible to disease. Recent scientific testing indicates European diseases are now present in BC's feedlot salmon, most of which is owned by three Norwegian companies. Additionally, all salmon are carnivores and must be fed other wild fish, so the salmon feedlot industry is depleting the natural food-chain elsewhere. In summary, the issue is not about nutrition, it's about destruction of ecosystems wherever feedlots exist and where their food exists. The industry is not sustainable and must be stopped.

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    1. Totally agree, Laurie.
      Corporate greed and corrupt government along with non-thinking public are destroying Beautiful British Columbia and its once endless source of natural resources - motto seems to be rape and pillage!

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  9. In no way will feedlot salmon be a good idea. It is unnatural, and it's already proving it's a breeding ground for disease. It has become corporate salmon. The term genetically engineered salmon should be scary enough. Atlantic Salmon from Norway don't belong in our stores, your stores, and the government should not be allowing sick Atlantic salmon, ridden with European viruses and antibiotics, into feedlots that are in the same waters as wild pacific salmon. This has turned into another money making venture, with no conscience for natural habitat. Say no to feedlot salmon of any kind, and support wild salmon.

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  10. Open-net fish farms come with high ecological, social, and economic costs. Many people concerned about nutrition, the environment, and sustainably-harvested seafood refuse to buy or eat fish from open-net farms. The crowded feedlot conditions provide ideal breeding grounds for plagues of sea lice and viruses that are lethal to wild fish. Open-net fish farms deposit tons of feces (daily), dead or dying fish, and rotting uneaten feed into the surrounding waters—along with the antibiotics, delousing chemicals, and dyes required to bring open-net farmed fish to your local market or restaurant.
    The loss of healthy wild fish stocks has a profound effect upon wildlife--and the well-being of communities that depend upon wild seafood and tourism to feed their families. An additional concern is the frequent escapees from fish farms; such non-native species can threaten the genetic health of local wild fish. Wild fish and marine mammals become fouled in the nets; sea lions, seals, otters, and other animals attracted to the pens of fish are sometimes killed.
    It is possible to use closed-containment, land-based fish farm techniques in which water and waste products are purified, re-used and recycled; such farms can be sustainable and profitable.
    To learn more about open-net fish farms and their effects upon communities, you can watch: http://www.salmonwars.com or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-i5N03o0iVc (The Greed of Feed). More information about these issues can also be found at www.salmonaresacred.org or www.salmonfeedlotboycott.com .

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  11. If you value the environment, sustainable jobs, your health and that of your family, then it is a no brainer. Why on earth would anyone even consider buying farmed salmon?

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  12. NO to ALL farmed fish. Along with the unhealthiness of farmed fish and the mess left behind on the seafloor, it is also cruel to the fish. They are packed together so tightly, they often die from their scales being rubbed off, as they rub against each other or against the nets ! No life for them at all. :/

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  13. I guess if you really think about it, it doesn't seem that corporate farmed fish or wild fish are an ecologically sound alternative. But I guess people gotta be "be healthy" and get their "Omega 3's" even if it rapes the entire planet. It sounds like at least the Willoughby Ohio Aquatic Farm guy is presenting a more viable option.

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  14. I mentioned you (used your picture in this post) in my blog post today!!
    Why Its Important To Buy Wild Caught Sea Food http://cleaneatingteen.blogspot.com/2013/07/why-its-important-to-buy-wild-caught.html

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  15. I agree with Mike from Willoughby. Wild caught fish is NOT sustainable. Check the country of origin, U.S. farm raised fish is clean and higher quality than ANYTHING imported. Also, please edit your post . You're promoting bad information about seafood because apparently you're too lazy to go back and doublecheck your facts!

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  16. Very little is understood about aquaculture/fish farming. We know so much about our terrestrial protein sources, the hormones used, the antibiotics, irradiation methods, the newer chemical washes used in packing plants, being fed their own species, the viruses....and we're fine with that. We accept the milk we drink even after we realize what's in it, and what somatic cells are...yuk! Or, as I enjoy my juicy, water filled cantaloupe today, I wonder what kind of fertilizer was used...an Agri-product or is that melon filled with effluent from poultry, pigs, cattle, or whatever. It's organic method may be correct but what about the source of the biological substance in it?? See, there are many unknowns when we consider organic. Although, I would choose it just to stay away from GMO, if that's possible.
    Most farmers bet everything they have, every year, for us. We don't have the backbone to do what they do. They need antibiotics in some cases, to guarantee their harvest...by the time it hits our dinner plates, the levels are so low.....whatever it is, fish, poultry, cattle, etc.
    When families are looking for affordable protein sources to put on the table seven days a week, we still do not have many options. Sure, I've been guilty of burning 20 gallons of fuel just to bring home a few fish.

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  17. ❀ ✿ ❀ ✿ ❀ ✿ ❀ ✿ ❀ ✿ ❀ ✿

    Very interesting!! I'm more than happy to follow you ;)

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  18. Is Sea Queen company a farmed raised or wild caught company

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  19. I will not buy farm raised fish but I recently saw land raised salmon at my grocery store. Does anyone know what the difference is? The fish looked really good!

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  20. I will only buy farmed raised fish. Our oceans are dying. The presence of people and Chemicals and our over fishing will be the end of life on earth. Without healthy oceans...we will die. ONLY BUY FARM RAISED FISH!!! You can research where your fish comes from before buying. You can choose the fishery and buy directly. Don't be fooled. Stop killing our oceans.

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    1. wild cought fish tast better and have less disseses

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    2. Sounds like you want to get sick...

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    3. Did you know that farm raised fish is NOT more sustainable at all? Do you know why? Because they feed wild caught fish and fish oil (plus grain to make the pellets) to farm raised fish. It takes 3 pounds of wild caught fish to raise 1 pound of farmed fish. They are "killing our oceans" by farm raising fish because they use tons and tons of wild caught fish to feed the farm raised fish! Wake up! And they farm raise fish in natural oceans and streams. All the bi-products, waste products, toxins, and antibiotics are dumped back into the surrounding ocean damaging the Eco-system. Why anyone would think that something as un-natural as fish farming is better than naturally caught wild fish is out of their minds. Also wild caught fish only makes up about 10% of the fish available in the U.S. It's more expensive for a reason.

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  21. Speaking as the mother of a child with a corn allergy, we can only buy wild-caught fish because the additives and chemicals used in farm-raised fish are derived from corn, not to mention the feed. I was unaware of the difference until recently and thought as long as "fish" was the only ingredient, then it had to be safe for her. After she continued having reactions and we began learning more about hidden corn ingredients in our food, we learned that wild-caught fish is the only fish safe for those with corn allergies (unless you can be certain that you have gotten organic fish that has not been fed corn or GMO feed).

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  22. You know.. It just sounds like we've done what humans are best at which is basically poison ourselves and delude ourselves into thinking we've helped ourselves.

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  23. Really wild fish are the best in taste i think everyone should enjoy the taste of this if not visit any sea food center.Thanks for the post.
    Genetic ID

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  24. Thanks for such a needed help as i am studying and doing research on this topic only.
    Champagne Sabre

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  25. Do you really not know that a good portion, up to 80% in some studies, of your wild Alaskan Salmon starts off in a hatchery? It is fed the same rations most farm raised Salmon- Corn, Wheat, Soy, Fish Meal, Fish Oil (maybe even animal by-products) a vitamin supplement and astaxathin which is an antioxidant, and it give the Salmon it's color. After the fish get to fingerling size they are released into rivers to make their way out to the Ocean. So, a lot of your fish starts out farm raised. This is actually a very good thing as the State of Alaska does a fantastic job in it's fish management. This assures the rivers these fish are released into have fish returning to spawn.
    And what about Rainbow Trout? Did you know most of the Trout that swims in our streams start out the same way , in a hatchery? (I.E. Farmed)
    What about fish that's wild caught in rivers, estuaries or marine waters that are polluted? Check out the pages of warnings they have in the state of Maryland on many different fish- Fresh, Estuarine and Marine waters because of possible contaminants from Mercury, PCBs or Pesticides- http://mde.maryland.gov/programs/Marylander/CitizensInfoCenterHome/Documents/Fish%20Consumption%20Docs/Maryland_Fish_Advisories_2014_Web_bluecatedit.pdf

    I would say in the past there were many fish farms that were not doing a good job. However there are many aquaculture operations that are doing some pretty incredible things, and changing the way fish is being raised.
    I love fishing, and I love eating fish. The most important thing is to make sure we have fish for the future. If everybody avoided eating farm raised fish, there would be no fish. Just like if we continue to contaminate the streams and rivers with pesticides and fertilizers, our estuaries and bays will continue to die. Let's focus on whats important and support the farms that do a good job raising fish-
    And during that whole "demarketing" of Farm Raised Salmon nobody talked about how much fish meal and Fish Oil are sold to the livestock industry for their feed?

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  26. What about the radiation in wild fish? Farm fish maybe better.

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