Spring and summer months offer excellent opportunities to cook up some lighter fare for your family and friends. It’s natural to eat lighter fare in the warmer months. Heat, humidity and warm environments induce efforts to stay cool. Think sitting in the shade, enjoying a popsicle or ice cream cone, taking a dip in the pool or eating cooler foods. Fresh salads, homemade gazpacho, fresh farmers market fruit and grilled seafood may all be common staples in your household this spring and summer, but when it comes to making your summer seafood selections, here’s why you should consider purchasing wild caught instead of farm raised.
Wild Caught Fish are Nutrient Dense
Wild caught fish get their nutrients, specifically their Omega-3’s, from eating aquatic plants. On the other hand, farm raised fish are fed corn, soy and high protein pellet fish feed that contain little to no nutritional value for the fish. This unnatural diet also means that some fish may accumulate unhealthy levels of Omega-6 fatty acids, which are inflammatory by nature. If you are looking to get more Omega-3’s in your daily diet, you can also incorporate more foods like flax seeds, hemp seeds and walnuts.
Farm Raised Fish are Depleting Prey Fish Populations
Although some farm-raised fish can live on diets of corn and soy, other farm raised fish need to eat other smaller fish like anchovies, herring and sardines, which means these prey fish are being fished to almost the point of extinction in order to feed the world’s fish farms. By depleting the oceans of prey fish, fisherman are subsequently reducing other populations.
Wild Caught Fish are Raised in the Wild
Farm raised fish are raised in tight quarters, which often can create unpleasant living conditions leading to disease and parasites. In order to mitigate the risk of potential disease, farm raised fish are routinely given doses of antibiotics, which can then be passed on to the humans that eat them. Who wants that? Yuck! On the other hand, wild caught fish are able to swim freely until they are caught for human consumption.
Farm Raised Fish Can Damage Local Ecosystems
Besides feeding farm-raised fish antibiotics, fish farm operators also add chemicals to the water to combat any disease between fish. Such toxins can damage local ecosystems and can create awful living conditions for the fish, so bad that fish often times try and escape fish farms. Escaped fish breeds can compromise wild populations and essentially the overall gene pool of fish found in the wild.
When it comes to purchasing seafood, it’s important to educate yourself. Find your favorite fish and learn more about it on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s website, Seafoodwatch.org, which educates consumers on the best seafood choices. What’s the best? When choosing the best seafood, keep in mind these criteria:
- It tastes good to you
- Your choice is low in toxins
- It isn’t overfished
- Has little negative impact on the environment
- Doesn’t compromise other marine populations through fishing techniques
Seafood Watch has named six fish species as “Super Green,” meaning they carry the fewest contaminants and they meet the daily minimum of Omega-3 Fatty Acids making them great choices for frequent consumption:
- Albacore Tuna from U.S. or British Columbia
- Freshwater Coho Salmon
- Oysters (Farm raised is okay)
- Wild-Caught Pacific Sardines
- Rainbow Trout (Farm raised is okay)
- Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon
The next time you are planning a summer time seafood meal, make sure you choose a wild caught option and do your research!
U.S. Wellness Meats proudly receives our wild-caught seafood from Vital Choice and are certified sustainably wild harvested.
Meet The Author:
Ashley Martens is a Health and Wellness Writer based in Chicago, IL. With a background in digital marketing coupled with her knowledge of general nutrition and a lifelong passion for all things health, wellness, fitness and nutrition, Ashley offers a healthy alternative to traditional writing. You can learn more about Ashley and her writing over at her blog, Three to Five a Day.