Wellness: "Farm Raised" Fish? What's That?

A couple years ago a friend of the family was giving me a ride  home . We had just came from visiting a family member in the hospital, when the conversation started . “ It’s been so long since I last saw you, You’ve grown up." "You know all of these years I have been working as a chemist. Me and my buddy are thinking about getting into the farming business , with fish . You know , cloning salmon with other fish”. “Ummmm, did he just say cloning “ I thought to myself . I was turned off by the conversation and didn’t want to have it anymore. I did however; want to know what he meant by the term “Cloning”.  Farming ? Cloning ? “ I said . Seconds later it was  time for me to get out of the car . Little did I know that six years later that same conversation would have an impact on me.  For many of years I have associated the term "farm raised" on labels of seafood at grocery and seafood stores with "cloning". I can say, that conversation left a bad taste in my mouth.  I decided to do some research on a few questions I had. Keep reading to find out three things I learned.

What is "Farm Raised"?
When visiting your local grocery store or seafood restaurant there are  two selections of seafood you can  purchase, or if eating outdoors; possibly can be eating: " Farm Raised " or " Wild caught". Farm Raising  also known as "Aquaculture  is the production of marine and freshwater organisms under controlled conditions. This includes fish and shellfish for human consumption, sport fishing, backyard ponds, and release to enhance wild populations" naa.net ( National Aquaculture Association). 

Why and When did Fish Farming Begin ?
Aquaculture production in North America started way back. The Food and Agriculture of the United Nations website informs us that this production started in order to enhance sport fishing opportunities.  In the 1870's the The United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries was established with a goal to breed fish, which included trout and catfish for stocking in streams, lakes and farm ponds. "The first fish hatchery opened in Madison, Wisconsin in 1887, and by 1922 Wisconsin had 12 hatcheries planting upwards of 100 million fish each year." The website also shares with us that the Atlantic Salmon production beganin the 1970's  with a small number of entrepreneur's using ocean net pens in the Pacific Northwest. 

Close to almost 50 years later, the  demand for the consumption of seafood increased which meant the  demand for fish from fisheries increased which fisheries could not provide with wild caught fish. In a 2018 article in the aquaculturealliance.org they tell us  “U.S. per capita seafood consumption increased by 1.1 pounds to 16 pounds in 2017, reaching the 16-pound mark for the first time in almost 10 years, the National Marine Fisheries Service announced recently in its “2018 Fisheries of the United States” report. They tell us that that "1.1-pound increase in consumption is due partly to the growth of responsible farm raising of seafood / aquaculture which has allowed for global seafood production to continue to grow." 

What is the difference between farm raised fish and Wild caught Fish?
 Farm raised Fish are in controlled environments and Wild Caught Fish are in natural environments- ponds, lake, oceans. Wild caught Fish eat a variety of things such as organisms living in their environment where as some farmed fished are fed "fish meal" from the farmers that produce and raise them. 
In a a blog written by an n award winning restaurant that sells high quality seafood to compare and contrast farm raised fish vs wild caught, ussnemorestaurant.com they tell us that “ The low quality that’s been associated with farmed fish is due in large part to the fact that the salmon are fed a low-quality fish meal that’s a mixture of corn, grains, fish oil and ground up, wild-caught fish.  The blog also goes on to inform us that the food given to the salmon, also contains food coloring to give the salmon the color we associate it with. In wild caught salmon, the pink pigment  we see, originates from it's blood. Farm raised fish may also be treated with preservatives to give them long lasting shelf life and to keep them looking "fresh" as you may see in the grocery stores.

After reading what I have read and talking to a few people the question that remains for me is  “Will I  eat Farm Raised Fish?" The answer is No. Though I will not eat it,  I will not judge those who do as there are some pros for those who eat lots of seafood or want seafood on a budget. Farm raised fish can be more affordable and convenient depending on where you live in comparison to " Wild Caught". For more information on " Aquaculture/ Farm Raised" Fish and Seafood see links below.


Be Encouraged,

Noelani



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