We continue our discussion of “Seaspiracy” from a nutritionist’s perspective.
In the film, they highlight an extreme example of farmed fish infested with sea lice. This is a particularly awful case, but how prevalent is lice in farmed fish? Should you be concerned? And what should you look out for? Let’s find out!
In any industry, there are a variety of practices, from best to worst, that will have a nutritional impact on the product. It’s upsetting to think about the worst case scenario, so you want to be sure that you’re purchasing fish that have been farmed responsibly.
The Safest Farmed Seafood + The Most Harmful
In terms of sustainability, farmed bivalves (muscles, clams, oysters) are some of the lowest-impact sealife that can be farmed. As a bonus, they’re also one of the safest options when it comes to avoiding toxins such as mercury. Muscles are a particularly safe and healthy option — just try to avoid the fries they’re usually served with!
Shrimp is the most commonly consumed seafood, but most shrimp sold and consumed in the United States comes from towns in Coastal Asia or Latin America. These fish farms often have issues with slave labor and exploitation – and, as if that wasn’t bad enough, they’re also responsible for habitat destruction.
Sadly, the safest option to avoid supporting these problems is one that most people won’t like: stop eating shrimp, altogether. Until production standards change, buying shrimp perpetuates the system, and the industry won’t change until it’s forced to by consumer-demand.
What Fish Are Fed
Despite what you’ve heard, you are not what you eat. It’s much more accurate to say that you’re what the animal you eat eats. An animal that eats things that are bad for it is eventually going to get sick. When animals get sick, their rearers medicate them. Does eating medicine designed for a fish sound like a good idea to you?
So What Should You Look Out For?
Ask two questions about your seafood:
- Where was it caught? The US, Canada, and New Zealand generally have better farming procedures, so you can be much more confident in their quality.
- Was it wild or farmed? If you have a choice, always pick wild.
There are no hard and fast rules with this; just try to know what you’re eating, when you’re eating it. Ask the questions, and make the changes you feel comfortable putting into action.
- The Fish on My Plate
- What Your Need to Know About Farmed Shrimp
- Sustainable Eating Why It’s a Good Idea to Stop Eating Shrimp
- The Flip Side of Tilapia, the Perfect Factory Fish
- Global Assessment of Organic Contaminants in Farmed Salmon
- Meat, fish, and colorectal cancer risk: the European Prospective Investigation into cancer and nutrition
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