Because of the increasing need for seafood and fish and the fact that our entire ocean is becoming depleted fish will mostly if not completely be farmed fish as a rule. Currently over half of all fish are farmed fish. World Bank estimates that by 2030 around two-thirds of all seafood would be farm-raised. The most common farm-raised fish are tilapia, salmon, catfish, sea bass, and cod.
Farmed fish have up to ten times more pollutants.
Samples of farmed salmon have shown that it contains eight times levels of PCBs compared to wild salmon, four times levels of commercial beef, and 3.5 times than other seafood. In a couple of studies, they have analyzed more than 700 salmon samples from around the world. Most of these toxins are stored in the fat of the fish.
It is the same story if we would compare game meat with the meat of the farm-raised animal.
Much of the pollutants came from food that is given to the farmed fish. Food is the same as food for other farm animals and if chicken and pork have bioaccumulation of POP’s (persisting organic pollutants) so would the fish but because the fish are enclosed in water tanks the situation gets worse because fish then starts to accumulate the pollutants from the water as well.
Fish waste and also uneaten feed will drop to the bottom beneath these farms and start to decompose.
Average size salmon farm will produce the amount of excrement equivalent to the sewage of a city of ten thousand people. It is the breeding ground for bacteria that consume oxygen, and oxygen is vital for marine animals especially for shellfish and other bottom-dwelling sea creatures. Also, the excrement of the animals themselves is used as fish feed.
Chickens only use up to 30 percent of the nutrients from their feed. That means that 70 percent of nutrients are still in their droppings. Fish can eat those droppings and absorb all of the remaining protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. These droppings if uneaten will also fall and settle at the bottom. Then, with time, insect larvae will develop, and the fish will eat the larvae that are filled with pollutants from the excrement themselves. Not only that but the transfer of pig waste is common practice too. It is an economically sound design technique known as integrated livestock-fish farming. Waste from chickens, ducks, and pigs are transferred directly to the fish farms. Fish like tilapia and carp use plankton as a primary food source. If the dosage is right, manure will give a massive boost to growth to the plankton in the pounds. This fertilization of the fish pounds will dramatically improve the fish growth and the level of toxicity.
Because in farms fish do not eat wild food only the feed they lack astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is a red pigment from algae that algae use as a defense against UV light and represent one of the most potent antioxidants in marine habitats. The pink color of salmon and for example, the pink color of pink flamingos are a consequence of astaxanthin consumption. Pink flamingos are born white. In farming conditions, fish lack a wide variety of phytochemicals that they will naturally eat in the ocean, so they are given dyes. Farmed salmon regularly has dye added to it. Die is synthetically produced carotenoid astaxanthin that is used as a colorant. It even has different shades that range from carophyll pink from Roche to lucantin pink from BASF. These dyes are a scam. They have no purpose. Their only job is to fool you, the consumer, into thinking the product is natural-looking, healthy, and flavorful.
Besides farming waste, the crowded conditions that these fish are in will lead them to be more susceptible to disease as well. It can be compared to regular farming which is a breeding ground for infections and parasites. In the ocean, fish is scattered and infections will typically exist at a minimal level. In densely packed oceanic feedlots, diseases and parasites can run rampant. In order to cope with these conditions farmed fish are vaccinated as minnows. After vaccination fish is always on antibiotics and pesticides. One of the most significant problems for the industry is sea lice. In the wild usually, it is not problematic at all, but in the fish tanks, it is an entirely different story. At the first sign of an outbreak, farmers will add substantial amounts of pesticides to the feed.
Because they are fed with fish feed, they also lack omega-three fatty acids. Fish in the wild get omega-three from algae. Fish feed is nothing more than grounded fishmeal and vegetable protein and that mixed together with the help of binding agents such as wheat. In all types of fish examined, the amount of omega-three fats was considerably higher in wild fish. Generally, farm-raised fish will be cheaper, will have 10-30% more fat than wild-caught fish (and that is not omega-3 fatty acids as propaganda regurgitate but just fat which you already get too much of) with a higher level of toxicity and lower-level if any at all of the omega-three acids.
The solutions are closed systems. They treat and then recycle water and don’t contaminate nearby wild habitats but that way of fish production is much more expensive, and we forgot that wild fish is polluted just by itself. The inflammatory potential of clean, unpolluted fish just by itself is far higher than that of a hamburger or pork bacon. Also, then we have pollution on top of that.
If you think that eating salmon is healthy, you as well might just go with the bacon. All farmed fish and shrimp are just poison. Shrimp and tilapia are some of the dirtiest. Most of the shrimp and tilapia that you see in the markets and stores are from farms.
Passages selected from a book: “Go Vegan? Review of Science: Part 1” [Milos Pokimica]
- Use of Food Waste, Fish Waste and Food Processing Waste for China’s Aquaculture Industry: Needs and Challenge doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.08.321.
- Fish Meal in Animal Feed and Human Exposure to Persistent Bioaccumulative and Toxic Substances doi: 10.4315/0362-028x-69.11.2777.
- Contaminants in Fish: Risk-Benefit Considerations doi: 10.2478/v10004-007-0025-3.
- Heavy Use of Prophylactic Antibiotics in Aquaculture: A Growing Problem for Human and Animal Health and for the Environment doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2006.01054.x.