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Organic farmed fish or wild fish? What would you prefer?

(36 Posts)
climbingrosie Thu 22-Feb-07 08:38:40

Ok, so if there was no financial difference and you could afford either, hypothetically, which would you buy? The organic fish that obviously is farmed (but slightly better than non-organic farmed fish), or the wild fish from sustainable fishing? Am just curious really as have to do some research into the pros and cons of each from an ecological point of view, but which would you rather eat?

And if you are on a strict organic diet would you view wild fish as organic and therefrore acceptable even though it is not certified?

AlaskaDingo Thu 22-Feb-07 08:43:05

From what I understand, the "wild fish" are interbreeding with escapees from the fish farms anyway.

However,imo "wild" tastes much better than even "organic" farmed fish.

sophy Thu 22-Feb-07 19:37:45

This is such a tricky issue. I would eat wild fish that was certified by the marine conservation society and had not been air-freighted. Often the only MCS fish on offer at Waitrose is Alaskan salmon, but assume that must be air freighted. I think farmed salmon, even organic, is dodgy, although I hear good reports about organic farmed cod. And yes I would regard all wild fish as organic, organic only applies to things that are farmed, e.g. a blackberry that I pick in the hedgerows would also be organic althougfh not certified.

climbingrosie Fri 23-Feb-07 01:12:02

Agree with you sophy, it's a tricky one. Most wild fish available in supermarkets does seem to be Alaskan Salmon, and my research has revealed that the organic farmed salmon still recieve chemical treatment if they get sea lice, they are just not routinely given the treatment like non organic varieties...oh it is so ocnfusing as lots of different information and research out there...

Agree with you too re foraging wildly for edibles like blackberries, but if they are on a main busy road I don't see them as organic and avoid them, prob covered in exhaust fumes! ...and if the hedgerow backs onto a field of non-organic crops then the hedgerow will also get the insecticides and pesticides that are sprayed on the field, so also not 'organic'

WideWebWitch Fri 23-Feb-07 07:02:05

I'd go for organic farmed as so much is overfished/endangered. In fact I do, I buy no catch organic cod and farmed organic salmon. But yes wild fish is preferable, of course from a taste pov but not an ecological/marine conservation one. imo.

yellowrose Fri 23-Feb-07 07:53:29

yes but aren't the wild fish exposed to all kinds of chemicals in the water growing in the wild whereas the organic ones will have little or no chemical exposure ?

taste is very important to me but i am more concerned about the chemicals which is why i feed my son mostly with organic stuff

gosh - it reminds me of thet fish in the simpsons with three eyes ! a nuclear fish ! god help us !

Dophus Fri 23-Feb-07 08:02:54

Purely form a tast persepctive I can no longer eat farmed salmon (neither organic nor non-organic). I find the texture horrid. Wild salmon is a completely different fish.

climbingrosie Fri 23-Feb-07 22:19:59

But yellowrose, most 'fish farms' are huge netted off pens in the open sea, so same contaminated water. Some fish farms are 'ponds' so to speak, so not in the sea, but that's more for fresh water fish than for salt-water fish.

Heathcliffscathy Fri 23-Feb-07 22:30:24

one thing that is certain is that farmed fish and in particular farmed salmon, organic or not (and imo using the term organic to describe farmed salmon of any kind is a betrayal of what the term organic means to me) is bad news. Fish farming is INCREDIBLY destructive to the environment. For every one ton of farmed salmon (including organic) produced up to 3 tons of wild fish (sand eels, juvenile fish of all species) have been killed to feed them.

Concentrating migratory fish like salmon in dense populations causes massive blooms of parasites which ravage wild fish and pollute our coastline.

Seatrout on the West coast of scotland have been driven close to extinction by fish farms.

Moving away from salmon, 'ranched' tuna is leading to the decimation of eastern atlantic tuna stocks. Farmed seabass causing most of the same problems as salmon. Wild seabass, unless line caught, is generally caught by a technique the uses two trawlers and kills vast numbers of dolphins.

Turbot, halibut, cod, bluefin tuna, monkfish and skate are all endangered.

So you need to buy line caught fish. And you have to choose sustainable fisheries. MCS helps. Choose fish that grow fast and breed young like mackerel, herring, sardines. At all costs avoid long lived slow maturing species like bluefin, cod, chilean seabass (a total disaster).

Do not eat farmed salmon. Organic or not and quite apart from the environment, it has to be a strong contender for the next BSC type scandal.


Heathcliffscathy Fri 23-Feb-07 22:31:51

most of the below info comes from this excellent book

Heathcliffscathy Fri 23-Feb-07 22:32:44

this will give you more info on salmon farming including organic

Heathcliffscathy Fri 23-Feb-07 22:34:11

yellowrose your post about chemical exposure in wild fish as opposed to farmed organic fish could not be more mistaken.

Heathcliffscathy Fri 23-Feb-07 22:34:48

organic farmed fish still need large amounts of pesticides to control sealice numbers.

yellowrose Sat 24-Feb-07 08:17:00

thanks sophable - obviosly i had this image in my head that the reason a fish is certified organic is beacsue it has little exposure to chemicals and waste products. thanks for info. will read further as didn't know all this.

Heathcliffscathy Sat 24-Feb-07 12:46:07

no problems

tbh, it is dh that is the expert on these matters, but living with him has made me one too!

climbingrosie Sat 24-Feb-07 14:18:29

Sophable wow all the information you give is great and I'm going to get the book you linked to. I'm just learning about all these things and finding there is so much wrong with organically farmed fish, and yet so few people know this, we are lulled into a false sense of security by the term 'organic'.
Very useful info, thanks!

aDad Sat 24-Feb-07 14:20:26

Don't eat either myself.

but v interesting info from sophable, I would have preseumed that eating farmed was the way to go, but maybe it's not as straightforward then.

motherinferior Sat 24-Feb-07 14:25:31

I'm with soph. Am horribly picky about fish, which is a PITA.

nibbs Sat 24-Feb-07 14:27:50

I agree with sophable - farmed fish is the most environmentally damaging. One of the reasons is that boats are sent out to dredge the sea beds to get sand eels to process into fish food - just crazy...
So yes, wild fish is best - and this is all effectively organic. MSC is useful, though it doesn't cover UK waters, so you can't get MSC-labelled mackerel, for example. The trick here is to also buy fish "in season", like all food.
There's a new report out by Dept for Environment on the environmental impacts of different types of food. The headlines are that air freight is bad, but otherwise, food miles aren't that important (apart from the drive to the supermarket) - far better to buy in season (even if that means apples from new zealand or tomatoes from Spain), meat and dairy have the biggest impacts.

Heathcliffscathy Sun 25-Feb-07 17:12:09

I'm SO glad that even a couple of you might think twice before buying farmed fish now. Really chuffed about that! so will dh be when i tell him.

yellowrose Sun 25-Feb-07 17:13:44

sophable - you and your dh sound like eco warriors - I admire you

Heathcliffscathy Sun 25-Feb-07 17:17:47

bloodyhell we aren't!

we're hateful bleeding heart guardianista liberals and live in a totally un-eco victorian house which the wind whistles through while the heating is on and we drive a car (although we share it) and we do all sort of non environmental fishing things.

we do give a shit about the environment and are prepared to pay more taxes/recycle/do as much as we feel able to do etc BUT there is loads we could do that we don't!

AND....dh's massive preoccupation with this is hugely coloured by the fact that he is a flyfishing nut and that what is happening with fishfarming and with overfishing sea stocks is making his quarry in danger of going extinct (seatrout and salmon).

So not exactly eco-warriors!

[note to self: when someone assumes that you are something great...WHY go to so much trouble to disabuse them of the notion??? WHY????]

Heathcliffscathy Sun 25-Feb-07 17:18:32

that should read non environmental things. Not non-environmental fishing things, of which we do none!

NappiesGalore Sun 25-Feb-07 17:25:01

line caught wild fish only, then.
dont see much of that about, tho, do you?

yellowrose Sun 25-Feb-07 17:32:17

it's ok sophable - i meant it as a compliment of course and i like you would LOVE to be doing more than just eating organic and recycling tins and glass !

I drive a big German car too, which is so not very eco-frienndly but have recently moved to a small town so actually have reduced my petrol consumption to a fraction of what it was before, ds and I now walk to town most days AND we will no longer being farmed fish thanks to you

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