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Help with a project: Farm raised seafood vs wild caught - your thoughts.

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  • bigblue_dl
    replied
    Re: Help with a project: Farm raised seafood vs wild caught - your thoughts.

    As for answering your initial questions...

    I don't eat fish very often, and when I do, it is almost always in a restaurant. The few times it is at home, I eat wild fish (almost always walleye) that has been caught be friends or family. The question of farmed vs. wild fish..I have no problem with farmed fish, and I highly doubt I'd be able to tell the difference. At this point I don't really make a conscious decision to eat one or the other, I just eat whatever is available. As long as fish farming is done responsibly and is regulated, like you have said it is, I see no reason not to eat farmed fish just like I eat, and enjoy, farmed beef and pork.

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  • Proud2baLaker
    replied
    Re: Help with a project: Farm raised seafood vs wild caught - your thoughts.

    Originally posted by bigblue_dl View Post
    Well, Peru IS in South America. So they could very well have "American Pride".
    True. Though when the logo is basically an American flag...it made me chuckle. The weird thing is that was the sea scallops. They had bay scallops right next to them that were from US waters.

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  • Proud2baLaker
    replied
    Re: Help with a project: Farm raised seafood vs wild caught - your thoughts.

    Originally posted by 5mn_Major View Post
    Recently I had to change my diet...limiting protein to 3 oz or size of a deck of cards twice a day. So I got very interested in meat and health and now am in the grocery stores daily.

    Fish has become a big deal. Notably Salmon and Talipia. I think that the health ramifications (alphas), lower relative mecury levels (compared to most other fish), taste and cooking options (I microwave) has made these two a hot commodity. Prices are about $10.00 a pound on sale ($15 when not) and half that for talapia. I myself started to eat it daily plus...until I was reminded about mercury. Now my goal is to try to get a handle on how much you can safely eat of these 'low mecury' sea fish.

    I would say there is a fair amount of confusion about what's better or worse in fish. OK most can guess that fresh is better than frozen. And I would guess most expect wild to taste better than farmed. Regarding mercury and these options...not too sure. I would guess that there is a large industry around farmed that doesn't exist around wild which always makes you wonder about the accuracy of info. I have heard that one should eat no more than 2 servings a week (or 4 servings at my size) of salmon/talipia or much less for other fish due to mercury...not sure if this is true or overblown.

    My guess is for the knowledgeable fish shopper it comes down to how much can I eat safely as there has been so much information about the dangers of mercury? Is chicken, beef subject to their own problems due to antibiotics, genetically modified, inproperly fed issues? If so, are they in the same league or is salmon both much better (due to health) and much worse (due to mercury) than other types of meat?
    We have a study wrapping up right now where we show a few things 1) the amount of mercury and other toxins in farmed fish is quite low and in most cases is not higher than what you would see in wild fish 2) we can keep it even lower by increasing our use of alternative feedstuffs (less fish meal and fish oil). What we are seeing is that it takes a lot of effort to get the levels of these toxins above the action levels that the FDA and EPA and what not consider probelmatic.

    The American Heart Association and other groups have all said that the risks of eating fish are far outweighed by the benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids and lean protein you are getting. If you are prone to eating fattier fish like salmon, be mindful how you cook it and follow the guidelines of 2 meals a week. Same really goes for most fish, wild or farmed. Unless of course its coming from some river where they say dont eat the fish at all.

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  • Proud2baLaker
    replied
    Re: Help with a project: Farm raised seafood vs wild caught - your thoughts.

    Originally posted by alfablue View Post
    ??

    Do trout (any) eat a significant part of their diet as fat already? If not, why are you altering their diet? Is it to make them bigger, faster, etc for sale?
    Trout and Salmon have a high energy demand (higher fat content needed in diet than say hybrid striped bass or something). Most diets that major feed makers make avaialable were originally formulated for trout and salmon (since they are the main carnivore raised in the US) so they have upwards of 40-50% protein and ~15% fat. My diets are something like 47% protein and 12-15% fat. Reduce it much below that and you lose growth. We are not altering the amount of fat but rather the composition of it to reduce the use of the marine based fish oil. We can still provide the proper amount of energy for them with the alternative but we lose some of the good omega-3 that they may normally accumulate in the tissue. By using an alternative high in saturates and mono-unsaturates, it seems that when we switch them back to fish oil for a short time the will preferentially retain the omega-3 that are now present and use the stored up saturates for energy. Having our cake and eating it too if you will.

    If you feed a hybrid striped bass or largemouth a diet with 40-50% protein and 15% fat most of that protein and fat will be stored as excess fat in the gut or simply lost as weight...so you are paying for expensive protein that is just going to waste. Now we have some additional diets avialable that have less protien and energy for species like that but they still have lots of fish meal and fish oil in them and we are looking at other sources to reduce our fish meal and fish oil use as well. We will likely never be able to completely go fish meal and fish oil free but if we can reduce our use as much as possible we will increase our sustainability and perhaps leave more of the anchovy, mackeral, sardines, menhaden and what not that are used for fish meal and fish oil in the ocean...and maybe help sustain some wild fisheries as well.

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  • 5mn_Major
    replied
    Re: Help with a project: Farm raised seafood vs wild caught - your thoughts.

    Recently I had to change my diet...limiting protein to 3 oz or size of a deck of cards twice a day. So I got very interested in meat and health and now am in the grocery stores daily.

    Fish has become a big deal. Notably Salmon and Talipia. I think that the health ramifications (alphas), lower relative mecury levels (compared to most other fish), taste and cooking options (I microwave) has made these two a hot commodity. Prices are about $10.00 a pound on sale ($15 when not) and half that for talapia. I myself started to eat it daily plus...until I was reminded about mercury. Now my goal is to try to get a handle on how much you can safely eat of these 'low mecury' sea fish.

    I would say there is a fair amount of confusion about what's better or worse in fish. OK most can guess that fresh is better than frozen. And I would guess most expect wild to taste better than farmed. Regarding mercury and these options...not too sure. I would guess that there is a large industry around farmed that doesn't exist around wild which always makes you wonder about the accuracy of info. I have heard that one should eat no more than 2 servings a week (or 4 servings at my size) of salmon/talipia or much less for other fish due to mercury...not sure if this is true or overblown.

    My guess is for the knowledgeable fish shopper it comes down to how much can I eat safely as there has been so much information about the dangers of mercury? Is chicken, beef subject to their own problems due to antibiotics, genetically modified, inproperly fed issues? If so, are they in the same league or is salmon both much better (due to health) and much worse (due to mercury) than other types of meat?
    Last edited by 5mn_Major; 05-07-2012, 10:30 AM.

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  • bigblue_dl
    replied
    Re: Help with a project: Farm raised seafood vs wild caught - your thoughts.

    Originally posted by Proud2baLaker View Post
    It may not happen in our lifetime but I wont be suprised if most wild fisheries are shut down due to low numbers or completely dissapear. And those that aren't will probably be VERY expensive luxury items. At that point it will be mostly farm raised seafood but that too will be very expensive. The omega-3 fatty acids we get from fish come from 2 places. Fish and algae. DHA, EPA and ARA (which is an omega-6 actually) are 3 important fatty acids for survival (DHA and EPA are considered more beneficial but ARA as a pro-infammatory can be important too). We have some ability to synthesize those in our own body but its minimal at best and is an energy consuming process. Algal DHA is a product that is becoming available and we are doing some research with it in the aquaculture field (to reduce our use of fish oil further) and Im sure we may see it more in food items as well but it is still in its infancy and very costly. Algal farms that can cheaply grow algae and process it into a food source (DHA oil for capsules or for use in foods) and potentially a fuel source (algal biofuels) at the same time would probably be very successful.

    If you are interested in wild fisheries and aquaculture you can follow this link to see the Food and Agriculture Oraganization of the United Nations SOFIA report (SOFIA = State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture). Its downloadable as a pdf (its big). The 2010 report is the most recent but its data is from 2008. The 2012 report should come out this year which will have data from 2010. It takes a while to compile everything and put it all together.

    Edit to add about prices: The human population is growing. And it happens to be growing most in places that have always consumed a lot of seafood (southeast Asia). Southeast Asia accounts for ~90% of all food fish aquacutlture and a very large portion of wild caught fish as well (or at least the fishing vessels originate from there and the product goes there). A lot of US fish are going there too (wild and farmed). Its kind of interesting actually that we ship so much there but also import much of the same stuff right back. We have wild and farmed raised salmon in the US but a lot of what you see comes from China (wild/frozen) or Norway (farmed) especially if you live in the middle US or in smaller towns (I do see more US fish at the larger seafood markets in big cities). Swai from vietnam is everywhere. Its freaking catfish. We grow quite a bit of catfish right here in the US. I had to laugh when I was at the store the other day and looked at some scallops from a company called "American Pride." I flipped the package over and saw "Product of Peru" on the back.
    Well, Peru IS in South America. So they could very well have "American Pride".

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  • alfablue
    replied
    Re: Help with a project: Farm raised seafood vs wild caught - your thoughts.

    Originally posted by Proud2baLaker View Post
    For example, right now I am doing studies on using alternative sources of energy (fat) in rainbow trout diets, coupled with an alternative feeding strategy that will hopefully reduce our reliance on marine derived feedstuffs (fish oil) while still producing a quality fillet for the consumers.
    ??

    Do trout (any) eat a significant part of their diet as fat already? If not, why are you altering their diet? Is it to make them bigger, faster, etc for sale?

    Leave a comment:


  • Jimjamesak
    replied
    Re: Help with a project: Farm raised seafood vs wild caught - your thoughts.

    I suppose I'm a bit spoiled up here in Alaska as most of my fish comes from either stuff I've caught or somebody saying "I've got extra, you want some?"

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  • Proud2baLaker
    replied
    Re: Help with a project: Farm raised seafood vs wild caught - your thoughts.

    Originally posted by Carter View Post
    Fish prices have gone crazy, haven't they? One of our nicest markets in Madison is Metcalfe's, although they do run a bit more expensive than the others. This year fresh halibut, which is really tasty, is 27 effin' dollars per pound. From my perspective, they should just leave them in the ocean. Even lake perch are nearly $20 per pound. Not a frequent treat. Most of what we buy is wild caught sockeye salmon when it's on sale for around $10 per pound.
    It may not happen in our lifetime but I wont be suprised if most wild fisheries are shut down due to low numbers or completely dissapear. And those that aren't will probably be VERY expensive luxury items. At that point it will be mostly farm raised seafood but that too will be very expensive. The omega-3 fatty acids we get from fish come from 2 places. Fish and algae. DHA, EPA and ARA (which is an omega-6 actually) are 3 important fatty acids for survival (DHA and EPA are considered more beneficial but ARA as a pro-infammatory can be important too). We have some ability to synthesize those in our own body but its minimal at best and is an energy consuming process. Algal DHA is a product that is becoming available and we are doing some research with it in the aquaculture field (to reduce our use of fish oil further) and Im sure we may see it more in food items as well but it is still in its infancy and very costly. Algal farms that can cheaply grow algae and process it into a food source (DHA oil for capsules or for use in foods) and potentially a fuel source (algal biofuels) at the same time would probably be very successful.

    If you are interested in wild fisheries and aquaculture you can follow this link to see the Food and Agriculture Oraganization of the United Nations SOFIA report (SOFIA = State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture). Its downloadable as a pdf (its big). The 2010 report is the most recent but its data is from 2008. The 2012 report should come out this year which will have data from 2010. It takes a while to compile everything and put it all together.

    Edit to add about prices: The human population is growing. And it happens to be growing most in places that have always consumed a lot of seafood (southeast Asia). Southeast Asia accounts for ~90% of all food fish aquacutlture and a very large portion of wild caught fish as well (or at least the fishing vessels originate from there and the product goes there). A lot of US fish are going there too (wild and farmed). Its kind of interesting actually that we ship so much there but also import much of the same stuff right back. We have wild and farmed raised salmon in the US but a lot of what you see comes from China (wild/frozen) or Norway (farmed) especially if you live in the middle US or in smaller towns (I do see more US fish at the larger seafood markets in big cities). Swai from vietnam is everywhere. Its freaking catfish. We grow quite a bit of catfish right here in the US. I had to laugh when I was at the store the other day and looked at some scallops from a company called "American Pride." I flipped the package over and saw "Product of Peru" on the back.
    Last edited by Proud2baLaker; 05-06-2012, 10:29 AM.

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  • Carter
    replied
    Re: Help with a project: Farm raised seafood vs wild caught - your thoughts.

    Fish prices have gone crazy, haven't they? One of our nicest markets in Madison is Metcalfe's, although they do run a bit more expensive than the others. This year fresh halibut, which is really tasty, is 27 effin' dollars per pound. From my perspective, they should just leave them in the ocean. Even lake perch are nearly $20 per pound. Not a frequent treat. Most of what we buy is wild caught sockeye salmon when it's on sale for around $10 per pound.

    Leave a comment:


  • Proud2baLaker
    replied
    Re: Help with a project: Farm raised seafood vs wild caught - your thoughts.

    Originally posted by Timothy A View Post
    We eat fish just about once a week, usually fish we have caught (northern, yellow perch, blue gills, crappies). I'd love to be able to buy fresh haddock, but fresh haddock in the store where I live is rare. We just have those gross frozen blocks of haddock chunks that come out of China. Overall, when I shop and look at fresh fish in the supermarket, the prices are crazy high, whether they are labelled wild caught or farm raised. I'd have to drop $20.00 to feed a family of 5 with 3 teenagers, so if farm raised fish cosy more then wild caught, count me out. $20.00 buys a lot of pork chops and pieces chicken on the bone.

    My opinion on farm vs wild is this if I decided to spend the $20.00 on store fish: I'd prefer wild, but I'd buy farm if it were cheaper, as long as it tasted like it was supposed to. If I could buy haddock at $2.50 per pound, I'd be all in on that, provided the flavor was there.
    With wild catches either static or in decline with demand for fish overall increasing, its no suprised that wild caught is getting more pricey. With farm raised one of the big issues comes down to feed costs (at least for the fish we like to eat in the US). Fish meal and fish oil is crazy expensive and is still the most common source of protein and energy in fish feeds. We are reducing the amount and using plant based proteins and fats but the price of soy and corn is getting very high too (largely due to the biofuel industry). The catfish industry in the US has shrank quite a bit in the past decade and many blame the rising feed costs. There were some issues with farm management as well but the feed costs thing was the straw that broke the camels back if you will. It was costing catfish farmers $1.00 per lb to raise the fish but processors were only paying them $0.80 per lb. When they were able to make a profit it was quite thin and with the sudden spike in costs for soy and corn (which a lot of catfish feed is derived from) it became difficult for them to make any profit. Many of these farms stopped growing fish and switched to growing soy and corn.

    Cost of fish is a big issue for me too. Its easy to justify buying the frozen vaccum sealed fillets when they are only a couple bucks each (from China usually...70% of all food fish aquaculture occurs there) but I have found myself avoiding that and trying to source my fish now from the US or Europe if I am buying wild or farmed. Its tough and sometimes I cant buy fish when I may want it but I am also lucky to live close enough to a clean lake that I can catch fish from too.

    Im sure that fresh, never frozen wild fish that is minimally prepared (ie not marinated heavily or something) could have a distinct flavor compared to fresh non-frozen farm raised fish. But for me persoanlly Ive never really noticed a distinct difference between the two. But I have never tried it in a blind testing...and its always been prepared in some way with seasonings and what not. When we do our tastes tests with the fish we raise, we have to just bake or pan sear them with at most a light salt sprtiz on them. We dont want any seasonsing or what not masking flavor or whatever.

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  • walrus
    replied
    Re: Help with a project: Farm raised seafood vs wild caught - your thoughts.

    Went to my Nieces birthday party yesterday, my BIL had a fresh wild caught Atlantic Salmon from the Miramichi River(very famous Atlantic Salmon river) in New Brunswick, nothing farmed will ever taste like that. The catch right now is Salmon heading out to sea, soon it will be Salmon headed up river.

    Fresh haddock is awesome, 4.95 pound on sale, as low as 3 something at the wharf in Portland. Frozen Haddock isn't bad though and I eat it often in the winter but it isn't from China
    Last edited by walrus; 05-06-2012, 08:06 AM.

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  • Timothy A
    replied
    Re: Help with a project: Farm raised seafood vs wild caught - your thoughts.

    We eat fish just about once a week, usually fish we have caught (northern, yellow perch, blue gills, crappies). I'd love to be able to buy fresh haddock, but fresh haddock in the store where I live is rare. We just have those gross frozen blocks of haddock chunks that come out of China. Overall, when I shop and look at fresh fish in the supermarket, the prices are crazy high, whether they are labelled wild caught or farm raised. I'd have to drop $20.00 to feed a family of 5 with 3 teenagers, so if farm raised fish cosy more then wild caught, count me out. $20.00 buys a lot of pork chops and pieces chicken on the bone.

    My opinion on farm vs wild is this if I decided to spend the $20.00 on store fish: I'd prefer wild, but I'd buy farm if it were cheaper, as long as it tasted like it was supposed to. If I could buy haddock at $2.50 per pound, I'd be all in on that, provided the flavor was there.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jimjamesak
    replied
    Originally posted by Carter View Post
    Definitely prefer wild.
    Same.

    Living in Alaska it's easier to get wild fish for many types and I think wild fish tastes better. But, again, I live in Alaska so it's a different ball game.

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  • Proud2baLaker
    replied
    Re: Help with a project: Farm raised seafood vs wild caught - your thoughts.

    Originally posted by Wol4ine View Post
    So what are your thoughts on Farm raised fish vs wild fish?
    I used to work on a fish farm in Maine (Ellsworth area) Farmed fish are fine, as long as you purge them properly.
    Do you prefer one over the other? Why?
    If you are ok with farm raised fish would you be willing to pay more for it if you knew it was sustainablly raised and was also local (like it was harvested shipped to your market live and is still alive in the tanks ready for you to buy it all within a few hours)?
    I, like most everyone else, would buy the cheaper trout in a side by side comparison. Have you ever harvested and shipped live, adult fish? I don't think that is really an option.
    Would you be willing to pay more for the same fish if they have better nutritional value (IE higher omega-3 content)
    How often do you eat fish?
    I eat fish once a week. It's normally Tilapia or HSB.
    Do you view fish as a luxury food, a regular source of protein in the same lines as beef or poultry, "brain food" etc?
    I would consider Shrimp or lobster 'luxury food'. Not so much fish.
    Any other thoughts?

    ;The farm I worked at raised Atlantic Salmon. We would take the smolts out to the pens and then bring them back when the were big enough to harvest for cleaning. Seals and sea lice were the worst problems. Then the farm was sold and we switched to raising Arctic Char (relative of Brook Trout and Lake Trout) We didn't have to grow them in the sea pens so a lot of problems were eliminated right there. As long as we graded the fish and maintained proper densities we avoided any diseases. Unfortunately the new owners were crooks and the place went bankrupt in a couple of years. The University of Maine bought the property and now uses it for Aquaculture research.
    Rainbow trout are shipped live to markets quite often. A food size rainbow is only about 1.5 lbs. We ship HSB live to markets in St Louis quite often. I just drove 300 lbs worth of live HSB (thats hybrid striped bass for those that arent down with the lingo) 2 weeks ago. Tilapia, HSB, catfish, largemouth bass, trout and even some carps are all common to see live in markets (especially if the city has a large Asian population). The Chinese love live largemouth bass for example and pay top dollar for it. Live markets are something you only usually see in larger cities though. HSB raised in Illinois are often shipped live to St Louis, Chicago and believe it or not Toronto.

    Originally posted by Carter View Post
    I just think the flavor and quality of the meat is superior. I try to find stuff that's wild caught in a sustainable manner.
    Thats a fairly common answer I hear. To play devil's advocate, I would argue that in a blind tasting most people (at least those who eat fish only occasionally) would never know the difference. Someone who eats several meals a week very well could tell the difference. I am all for sustainable wild caught too. Though for many sustainable wild fish, farms are still important (at least in providing the juveniles to reach adult size in the wild). The problem unfortunately is that at least according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, #s of wild caught fisheries are static at best and many are in decline. We may be able to continue to use them but I would bet that our grandchildren or at least great grandchildren will never get to try some species of wild caught fish. But in the mean time if we are careful with the harvest I'm certainly not against it.

    (Just a note, I am in no way anti-wild caught. Im just very pro-aquaculture. I eat wild caught fish myself quite a bit simply because in the US we still just dont offer much farm raised fish and most of what we do is imported from countries where I know they dont have the strict guidelines that we have here or in Europe)

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