Comparing Farmed-Raised Fish To Wild-Caught
Eating fish is an often-heard recommendation for a healthy diet. You've probably heard that fish, especially salmon, is rich in omega-3's an essential fatty acid. Are all fish created equal? We discuss the differences between farmed and wild-caught fish.
By Megan Burke, Maureen Cavanaugh
These Days | Thursday, November 12, 2009
Green Chefs, Blue Ocean
A comprehensive, interactive online sustainable seafood training program and resource center.
Monterey Bay Aquarium, Seafood Watch
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH (Host): I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. You're listening to These Days on KPBS. As more people become vegetarians, even greater numbers of people become ‘almost’ vegetarians, people who say they no longer eat red meat or chicken but limit the meat in their diet to fish. They’re called pescatarians. Even the rest of us are often urged by nutritionists to eat less beef and more fish because of its health benefits. But as the KPBS series “Food” continues, we learn it's not as easy to get away from the cow as you might think. Reporter Joanne Faryon is here to explain as her investigation into the food we eat goes underwater to examine the fish we eat. Welcome, Joanne.
JOANNE FARYON (KPBS Reporter): Hi, Maureen.
CAVANAUGH: And I’d like to introduce my other guests. Andrew Spurgin is head chef of Waters Fine Catering, and co-founder of the group Passionfish, which is dedicated to sustainable fishing and fish harvesting. Andrew, welcome. Thanks for coming in.
ANDREW SPURGIN (Head Chef, Waters Fine Catering): My pleasure. Thank you.
CAVANAUGH: And Don Kent is Senior Research Biologist, Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute. Don, welcome.
DON KENT (President and Senior Research Biologist, Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute): Good morning. Thank you for having me.
CAVANAUGH: And we invite our listeners to join the conversation. If you have a question about the fish you’re buying for dinner or a comment, how fish are farmed and raised, give us a call, 1-888-895-5727, that’s 1-888-895-KPBS. Joanne, let me start with you. What did you want to know when you started researching “The Fish We Eat?”
FARYON: Well, first we learned that it is an increasing part of our diet. The average American eats about 70 pounds of fish per year. Half of that fish is actually farmed fish and 80% of that farmed fish is imported. So we really wanted to know when I’m buying farmed fish, particularly salmon because salmon is one of the species that we consume most of, you know, what’s the difference really between farmed and wild? Is it as healthy? And, in particular, what about omega-3s because we hear a lot about omega-3 and that’s the healthy fat in salmon. Wendy Fry, one of our producers on this series spent a lot of time reading—really, it’s a debate—reading the one side and the other side. You have the people on the side of farmed salmon saying, no, you know, you get a lot of healthy omega-3s out of this, and then you have the other argument, no, it’s not the same nutritionally. Ultimately, it comes down to what are we feeding our farmed fish? That really can affect the nutrition.
[Use link above to continue reading]