I made a point in Grain Brain to emphasize the importance of wild fish as opposed to farm-raised fish for several important reasons. I’m well aware that wild fish may not always be available (a situation that will no doubt become more common in the future), but given the chance, wild fish should be your choice, and here’s why:
- Farmed fish will provide your body with higher levels of inflammation producing omega-6 fatty acids, and lower levels of inflammation fighting heart and brain healthy omega-3s. Inflammation is a key player in virtually all the medical issues you don’t want to get including cancer, diabetes, arthritis, coronary artery disease and even Alzheimer’s.
- Because of the crowded conditions in which farm raised fish are raised, they are routinely treated with antibiotics to help prevent infection. Not only does this raise concern for residual antibiotic in the fish itself, but the use of antibiotics in this manner helps contribute to the ability of bacteria becoming more and more resistant to the very antibiotics we rely on to combat serious infectious diseases.
- Farm-raised fish may have as much as 20% less protein compared to wild fish.
- PCBs are cancer-causing chemicals that may exist in farm-raised salmon at a concentration 16 times higher than wild salmon, and the level of dioxin is also higher, by a factor of 11 fold.
- Finally, the notion that somehow fish farming is more “sustainable” makes absolutely no sense at all. For every pound of salmon for instance, it takes 2-3 pounds of fish chow made from other fish like sardines, mackerel, anchovies, or herring. This needs to be factored into the equation as stocks of the fish used to sustain the fish farms are well on their way to becoming depleted.
So again, my best advice is to seek out wild fish whenever possible, and be sure to check labels. Don’t be fooled by names like “Atlantic Salmon.” While you might think that Atlantic salmon means the fish was harvested from the Atlantic Ocean, almost all Atlantic salmon is actually farm-raised.