While the health benefits of eating fish have taken the internet by storm, many experts are now warning that the farmed variety may not be keeping up with all the health promises.
A USDA review confirmed recent findings that the omega-3 fatty acids found in farmed fish, the very reason that so many experts are pushing fish in our diets, is approximately 20% lower than that of wild-caught fish. These farmed fish have a higher level of omega-6 fatty acids, which is important to note as an imbalance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids within the body creates inflammation.
Nicolas Daniel released a documentary, taking a critical look at our current fish industry, titled ‘Fillet-Oh-Fish.’ This documentary featured footage from a number of factories and fish farms across the world. While many of us are still oblivious to the realities of the fish industry, this painted a grim picture that will open the eyes of anyone who takes the time to view it.
Is Farmed Salmon Toxic? Here are 7 Reasons to Avoid Farmed Fish:
- Harming the Environment
The amount of waste that is generated by fish farms is hard to believe. Researchers from the George Mateljan Foundation stated that, “a good sized salmon farm produces an amount of excrement equivalent to the sewage of a city of 10,000 people.” This accumulation of waste creates a breeding ground for many types of bacteria that in turn threaten other marine life, along with increasing the drugs required to combat these bacteria within the fish farm.
Fish farmers have been using pesticides in an attempt to kill sea lice, a common problem when farming fish. These pesticides then circulate into the ocean and concentrate in the fat of wild marine life. Among these pesticides are some that have been banned for decades! A number of studies are now showing a high rate of cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in farm-raised salmon. The statistics are showing these rates as high as 16 times that found in wild salmon!
Fish that are raised in farms are fed large numbers of antibiotics in an effort to stave off disease. These diseases come as a result of their living conditions, and the crowded way in which they are kept. In time, consuming these antibiotics in such large quantities will create a resistance to the treatments. How does this impact you? Two million people in the United States alone are infected with drug resistant superbugs, killing at least 23,000 each year.
Dioxins are considered to be one of the ‘dirty dozen,’ a term used by the World Health Organization to refer a list of chemicals that are highly toxic, and store in the body for an extended period of time. Found to impair the reproductive, immune, endocrine and nervous systems, dioxins are also carcinogens. A study conducted at the University of New York found that the levels of dioxin identified in farm-raised salmon are 11 times higher than the levels in wild-caught salmon.
Have you ever wondered where your salmon gets its pink colour from? In the wild, the salmon’s diet includes marine life like shrimp and krill, which contain carotenoids which pigment the pinkish orange flesh. Farmed fish, however, are fed synthetic pigments such as canthaxanthin to add the pink color. Studies have found this pigment can impact the pigments in the retina of the eye. The use of canthaxanthin has been banned in the UK, however not in the US.
A study conducted in 2008 has found that dibutyltin, a chemical found in many fish farms, may be contributing to the increased rate of asthma, allergies, obesity and a number of metabolic and immune disorders within humans. It has also been found to interfere with the bodies ability to control inflammation.
- Polybrominated Diphenyl
Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) is a chemical used in high levels in fish farms as a flame retardant, often found in fish feed. This chemical has been found to contribute to cancer, acting as an endocrine disruptor. The National Institute of Environmental Health Science explains that endocrine disruptors interfere with the body’s endocrine system, producing negative developmental, neurological, reproductive and immune effects.