I May Have a Solution to My Fissues


Photo via Scientific American

Several times since I started this blog in 2009, I’ve brought up “fissues”–that is, my dilemma about eating fish: what kind, from where, etc.

In a global economy, we can get just about anything we want to eat from almost anywhere. And everyone says fish is good for you; in fact, we should be eating more fish and less red meat.

But what if the red meat is local, grassfed beef–higher in Omega-3 fatty acids (which is good) and without hormones or antibiotics–but your only access to fish comes from a polluted lake or river, or a fish farm?

All my life I’ve enjoyed eating fresh fish from the Atlantic Ocean when I lived in New Jersey and spent summers in Rhode Island. Now that I live in Michigan, I don’t eat seafood–not because I can’t get it, but because I know a lot of money and resources have been spent to get seafood to the Midwest. Besides, we have plenty of lake perch and walleye here. But if you read the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fish Advisory Guide, you’ll probably be afraid to eat almost anything from the Great Lakes, if you’re a woman or child in particular.

I’ve come to realize how polluted the earth really is when you have to worry about the toxins in wild-caught fish. And farmed fish? They are often fed corn and antibiotics, similar to feedlot beef in this country.

Finally, I might have a solution. An aquaculture company called Aqua Seed Corp has devised a new, sustainable process that raises Pacific coho salmon in freshwater, according to Scientific American. And the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program is approving it.

The article claims, “the salmon, to be sold under the SweetSpring label, have also been shown to contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, placing the salmon on Seafood Watch’s newly created Super Green List, which denotes that the fish is good for human health without causing harm to the ocean. To appear on the Super Green List, the salmon must provide the daily minimum of omega-3s (at least 250 milligrams per day) based on 28 grams of fish, and have PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) levels under 11 parts per billion (ppb). AquaSeed came in at 335 milligrams per day of omega-3s and had a PCB level of 10.4 ppb.”

How does this method work? The AquaSeed Pacific coho salmon are raised in a land-based, freshwater, closed containment system, which prevent escapes and problems with sea lice infestation that have plagued open-net ocean pen operations. The process also utilizes a high-end salmon feed and selective breeding to reduce amount of wild feed fish needed, which is better for the environment.

I wonder if someone will figure that out in Michigan? Then I can consume safe, environmentally friendly, and local fish!

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