Great article. I'm a big seafood fan and would gladly eat it for lunch and dinner every single day if my husband didn't hate it (luckily he works most nights so I am able to have it more often than I would if he were home for dinner!). I do remember reading a study last summer that said farm-raised tilapia is actually BAD for you, because the stuff they feed it converts into fats that can harm the heart more than help it. I was literally devastated, because I adore tilapia, and even now I eat more than I probably should. But since I love salmon and eat that as often as I can I hope that might cancel out some of the damage! Now I think I'm going to make fish for dinner...
Sorry, I did not read the article closely enough as DH was talking to me and I made a redundant comment.
Another note for those who are not used to cooking fish. The strong fishy smell you get in the house when cooking fish can be caused be cooking fish at too high a temperature.
I for one only purchase wild caught, fresh fish if possible. If you are buying local fish, look for fish with a firm flesh (does not leave indentation when poked), eyes should be clear and not cloudy or sunk in. It also helps to give it a smell. If it smells too strong, it is probably not fresh and will have a strong odor when cooking and a strong taste. It may defeat the purpose, but for oily types of fish, it will be milder, if you do not cook with the skin and strip out the really dark flesh that looks more brownish.
Growing up in Florida, we went fishing frequently. As an adult, I moved to Portsmouth and was thinking, "Wow, more fresh fish!" The first fish market, I visited had mostly fish with cloudy, sunken eyes and the proprieter had the gall to tell me the fish had been caught that morning. He had a store full of customers, and I politely informed him that I grew up in a fishing family and knew that fish with cloudy, sunken eyes had been caught several days ago and definitely were not fresh. Many of his customers walked out with me.
I don't recall ever having farm raised salmon, so I can't compare the taste between the wild and farm raised. I have, however, read many articles that say not to eat farm raised salmon.
From my personal experience I can say that farm raised, grain fed catfish tastes much better than one caught in the wild. The only exception MIGHT be a channel catfish that is caught in local rivers, particularly in the south. The danger with that, however, is that a fisherman usually has no idea of what kind of contaminants might be in that water.
My family used to live on a river, and we did lots of fishing. Over time the river changed colors, and it was quite obvious that the water had unhealthy "stuff" in it. We still fished for fun, but we no longer ate our catch!
Good comment NGSMART1. Another point is that often farmed fishlings can escape (check out fish framing in the Scandinavian countries. They then co-mingle with native fish and spread bacteria and diseases. When they cross breed with native fishes, it also causes harmful changes in the native fish population.
This is a great article but one big con you missed with farmed fish is the large environmental impact farming certain types of fish have. The choice between eating farmed versus wild fish thus becomes highly complicated. For instance, it is much better for the environment (and for you) to eat wild caught salmon than farmed salmon. Farmed salmon has traditionally been terrible for the environment for a number of reasons (ironically, the fish they feed the salmon is being overfished!), while farmed catfish is supposedly much easier on the environment and a better choice. Generally, Alaskan wild fisheries are sustainable and better than farmed. However, I do know that fish farming is becoming increasingly better managed and more environmentally sustainable, and it is still the case the vast majority of wild fishing is not appropriately regulated (don't eat Chilean Sea Bass please). The Monterey Bay Aquarium site you link is a great way to keep updated on this topic.
3/3/2009 8:27:44 AM
Thank you for this informative article. I would enjoy reading an article about farm raised shrimp versus wild caught shrimp.
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