Eco Food for thought, part two...Why SUSTAINABLE Fish & Shellfish are tasty & helpful
All right—so it seems through our biology, that we’re tied to the oceans, as humans, based on our inherent need for omega-3 from algae, shellfish, and fish.
And wild fish like Salmon, sardines and Atlantic Char have those essential Omega-3's you need. However:
Wild caught fish are in great danger of being over-fished…and unfortunately, at the same time, many farmed fishing practices use wild fish as fish food, plus dangerous antibiotics as well…
Making most farm-raised fish actually inflammatory for our bodies, with the antibiotics that are used….and to add insult to injury, currently most fish farming practices are not helping to keep wild fish populations intact:
Farmed fish often eat more small fish per pound, then we get in food per pound by raising them. The exception so far it seems is to be one company (that is selling to select Whole Foods grocery stores) that raises Coho Salmon in tanks, doesn’t use antibiotics, the fish are naturally dyed with Astaxanthin…and they eat 1.1 pounds of “feeder fish” for every 1 pound of salmon protein.
*And most salmon that you can order in a restaurant is not-well-farmed salmon…because it’s cheaper!
You would have to ask at the seafood counter to learn how fish are farmed…and I highly recommend using the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch recommended fish guides. You would want sustainably caught or well-farmed, when you purchase fish.
The state of wild & farmed fish are both fraught with challenges.
Hello omega-3 Shellfish
What I think is the most eco-friendly & sustainable option at this point is shellfish…as many shellfish are being healthfully farmed right now.
They can be farmed very sustainably in the ocean, without hurting the surrounding environment. They eat phytoplankton too, so farmed shellfish don’t need to be fed other fish like krill…and instead, they help clean the water around them, helping phytoplankton to thrive.
Many people think about shellfish as “filter feeders” and think maybe they get loaded up with toxic gunk…but they actually keep on passing that stuff out, and research has found that shellfish are actually the least contaminated farmed seafood whenever they’re tested.
However, you DO want to make sure you handle shellfish carefully, eat them on the same day you buy them & cook them well. Raw bivalve shellfish can carry bacteria, viruses and toxins that can cause foodborne illness. That's why it is important to harvest, store, handle and prepare shellfish appropriately to help prevent illness.
When you buy them at the grocery store, they usually give them to you “on ice”…and then it’s best to keep them in the refrigerator & then eat them the same day you purchase them from the store.
You can use the Seafood Search on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s website, to learn more about sustainable shellfish! 🙂
Here’s their entry on Mussels, for example:
Look for farmed mussels, which are one of the most sustainable kinds of seafood you can buy…
Plus, Mussels are so inexpensive (especially compared to wild-caught fish!)...and you can flavor them in so many delicious ways & feel all French when you eat them (mussels are super popular in France :))
This is a great summary article by Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple, about different kinds of shellfish & the micronutrients you can get from them (like oysters, clams, mussels, scallops, shrimp…)
And another great post about shrimp…and if you eat shrimp, you would want to get US farmed shrimp or wild-caught bay shrimp from Oregon or the Northeast.
Shellfish allergies are a common allergy though…so it’s important not to eat them if you’re allergic to them.
But if you can, many different kinds of shellfish are a great source of these crucial micronutrients: