Sunday, 26 September 2010

Wild or Farmed Fish for the Future?

Poseidon Cooks posted a story called Fished Out and I was motivated to write this article on my blog about the subject of fish as food.  Will wild or farmed fish supply our dinner tables in the future?

Poseidon Cooks refers to a book called Four Fish by Paul Greenberg. I haven’t read his book, but I have read the book called The One-Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka. Mr Fukuoka proposes eating fish that can be caught locally and only when it is in tandem with the fish reproduction cycle. Of course, the local fish supply may already be fished out or contaminated!

The comment “to feed the world” elicits my response of asking why is it that some people think everyone in the world should eat the same diet? Or more to the point, why is it westerners think that everyone should eat like westerners. The overfishing problem would appear to be caused by overconsumption by a few wealthy countries that are causing this shortage of wild fish. Would it not be better to stop overconsuming rather than artificially create more fish?

As mentioned in Poseidon Cooks’ article, there are problems with farming fish such as health issues (less exercise, unclean environment, crowded, spread of diseases, etc). But also, fish farms open the way for GM fish. The GM salmon in America is truly a monster.

So what is the context of this problem? Fish are not just served fresh as an entrée. Fish are used to make cheap, processed fish oil supplements and other supplements of dubious health benefit. Fish is skinned and tinned. Fish is used in cheap, processed fast food products. If we respected fish, they would only be sold fresh, cooked fresh in restaurants, or processed to retain nutritional benefit (such as fermented cod liver oil). Fish are one of the easiest foods to prepare and full of nutrients when fresh or properly fermented etc.

Even the name of the book, “Four Fish,” says a lot. Why are we consuming so much of only four fish? This is a marketing strategy. Why not promote other fish as food instead? Eating the same fish all year round at a prescribed level is unnecessary for our health and detrimental to the environment, but especially detrimental to the fish that are being consumed. Fish farming is the short-term easy option for some. I’m hoping wild fish will continue to be available. To this end, I have cut back on my consumption by not eating fish as often. I also don’t buy tinned or fast food fish products or farmed fish. I cook my fish from fresh and seek to improve the type of fish I buy, whether that means the species, method of catching or location fished. I hope you will join me in this worthwhile effort.

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