Adding fish to your diet can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle while at the same time protecting the planet and the species that live on it.
The desire to eat healthily is a concern for many people. We want to do what is best for our bodies and our family’s bodies, and we also want to make sure we are protecting the environment. As technology advances and we become more aware of the damage we’ve caused the planet, there is a drive and desire to stop more damage from occurring and to reverse what has already been done.
The human population will continue to increase year after year, which means that we have to find new, sustainable ways to feed everyone. Fishing has been an industry that has provided jobs, revenue and a food supply for communities across the globe. In addition, fish and seafood are a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients while being low in fat.
Meeting The Demands For Fish
The amount of people consuming fish has grown with the population. To meet demands, several new industries have been developed, including aquaculture and fish farming. Concerns have been raised about the sustainability of aquaculture and fish farming, but also about overfishing wild fish populations.
One of the biggest concerns consumers have for aquaculture is pollution and fish being raised in contaminated waters. Water can be full of different contaminants, including asbestos, ibuprofen, lead, giardia, toxoplasma, oestrone and mercury, among many others. High-quality filters can remove these contaminates from the water, but will that make your fish safe?
In addition to water contaminates, when it comes to fish farming and aquaculture, there’s a fear that the fish will be exposed to antibiotics or steroids that could potentially be ingested by humans. For all fish, including wild-caught species, there is a concern about the amount of mercury levels in the fish meat.
There are arguments for and against aquaculture and catching wild populations of fish. Both processes have their upsides, and they also have their downsides. On one hand, catching fish in the wild means they probably haven’t been exposed to steroids or antibiotics or contaminated water in unclean tanks. However, it’s possible they could have been exposed to pollution or contain high levels of mercury.
In addition, wild caught fish are susceptible to overfishing and endangerment, potentially even extinction. There are dangerous fishing methods such as trawling that not only impact the species being fished for but also the entire ecosystem. Other species will become unintended catches, and the environment could be destroyed by this unsafe fishing practice.
Yet, for some wild caught species, there are safer ways to catch fish for human consumption. If you want to ensure that you are getting a sustainable fish, research how they were caught. Some safe fishing methods include using poles, jigging, harpooning or traps, among others.
When it comes to fish farms and aquaculture, there is abundant information about overcrowding and unclean tanks. There is also a concern that the species used in aquaculture may be genetically modified and if they escape into the wild, they will change wild fish populations and ecosystems.
There is an upside to aquaculture, though. These include farming fish so that wild populations have the opportunity to reproduce and increase in number, lower levels of mercury and knowing that they were harvested safely without harm coming to natural environments.
Take The Time To Read the Label
Reading labels to find out how the fish was harvested (wild caught or farmed) and where (country of origin) will help you determine if the fish is good for your health. There are third-party, certified companies that add their logos to sustainable fish. If you see one of these, you can rest assured that you are eating a healthy fish. You can even download an app from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch so wherever you are, you can find out if the fish you want to consume is good for you.
All of these concerns about where your fish comes from and what they may or may not be contaminated with are valid. Questions need to be asked, and it’s important to know exactly where your food is coming from—both for the health and safety of the environment and for you and your family.
Emily is a freelance writer, covering conservation and sustainability. You can read her blog, Conservation Folks, for more of her work.
Read Emily’s last article here – https://artofhealthyliving.com/money-saving-tips-for-a-healthy-diet/