Fish: wild caught or farmed?

For those who haven’t clued in by now, I live in Australia. And like the rest of the world, seafood is horrendously expensive here. Especially wild-caught fish.

Personally, I don’t like to eat farmed seafood. I find it somewhat bland and boring, and have seen and heard of the environmental damage caused by the intensive farming practices.

BUT, I do understand that wild-catches are pretty much unsustanable in the longer term. And of course, wild-caught is more expensive yada yada.

Can someone educate me on the pros and cons of both?

Farm raised fish is feed crap, nothing close to what they would eat in nature. They swim around in their own concentrated waste, which isn’t at all healthy. They will also feed them dye to enhance the color and give them growth hormones to speed up there time to market. All of these gets passed on to you.

I don’t eat farm raised unless I am eating out, and I rarely order seafood when I’m eating out unless I see something wild caught on the menu.

Wouldn’t this be a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t kinda thing?

Farm raised: unhealthy.

Wild caught: contributing to overfishing.

I think those are both somewhat overgeneralized.

I like farmed mussels better than wild mussels, personally. And i think the practices of fish farms vary. Although my understanding is that tilapia is easy to farm because its natural environment is filthy over-crowded rivers.

And some wild fish stocks are farmed sustainably, while others are endangered. I’ve seen lists, and even had a fish biologist point me to one she thought was very good, but sadly don’t recall what it was any longer. (I looked up a couple of fish i like at the time.)

Salmon, catfish, trout and frog legs are the only ones I don’t care for. Tilapia, mollusks and crustaceans I prefer farm raised.

There are different aquaculture techniques with different results. Most people have eaten shrimp farmed in Asia for many, many years. Almost all commercially available oysters are farmed. Finned fish are larger and have unique problems, but the quality can be the at the same level as wild caught or even higher depending on your concerns. I don’t want to eat a lot of farm raised salmon because of the drugs and dye used, but it’s what good sushi and sashimi are made from. For a whole steak I’d prefer the wild caught.

Farmed salmon have carotenoids added to their feed to get the red coloring in their flesh. Astanxanthin or canthaxanthin are produced by farmed algea and are the same “chemicals” they would normally get from the shrimp or other things that they eat in the wild, that colors their flesh. There is no chemical dye being added. It is pretty expensive stuff.

(produced salmon feed, including purchasing the ingredients, for about 29 yrs)

While I do like tilapia, I buy wild caught other fish whenever possible. And living in the Pacific Northwest, it’s always possible to get wild-caught salmon, halibut, cod, and rockfish.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a ton of useful information about sustainable seafood. Whether wild or farmed is better environmentally depends on the species of fish and the local farming practices.

It must be depressing for you to read people comparing farmed high quality salmon with farmed frogs legs, shrimp, mollusks, oysters, crustaceans, catfish and tilapia.
I for my part am eating more and more farmed fish, mostly trout for sweet water and an ever growing variety for salt water fish, and the former was always good and the latter is getting better and better. Numerous species are available (here in Europe often from Spain, where they seem to be investing heavily in this sector, but not only from there) that used to be considered unsuitable for farming. What I avoid are farmed shrimps, because of over use of antibiotics and the mangroves.

Mr.Wrek fishes every day of his life he’s able to.
We’ve eat nothing but wild caught for years because of this. Had it Saturday, in fact.

It’s not nearly overfished where he fishes.
I think catfish, crappie and bass are pretty safe from extinction.
Farmed catfish is junk. Don’t eat it if you can help it. You’ll claim you hate catfish after that.
It turns alot of people off it.

There are few restaurants around here who serve wild caught. The farmed is so much cheaper. The more processed it is before sold(to a restaurant), as in cleaned and butchered and breaded, the worse it tastes.

I wouldn’t eat Tilapia if I was starving. They are just nasty.

We can get fresh gulf shrimp, in season. Pricey, but good.
Crawfish are available most of the time. I do not think they are farmed.

Commercial crawdad cultivation was invented as a byproduct of rice farming.

I’d don’t eat all that much seafood but most of the fresh salmon and shrimp I have must be farmed and I like if well enough. Oysters & mussels are always farmed, I think but crab and lobster never are. I guess I eat more canned fish than most people. The usual fish in cans like sardines, anchovies, herring, tuna are all wild caught.

I had a lunch meeting so I had to make my first post short.

The main issue with farmed salmon IS the feed. They require a high protein diet. Where does that protein come from? South American anchovy meal. A lot of anchovy meal (think powdered fish flour).

Mostly from Peru, who produced 1.8 million metric tons of dried anchovy meal, and Chile, who made 1.69 million metric tons last year. That is a lot of dried fish. It is sold on the commodities market. It is a really big deal and also goes into a lot of other things, like cattle feed.

These countries highly regulate this fishery, because it is the life blood of the oceans and their economy. Before you say, we should stop fishing anchovy all together, that would lead to a boom and bust cycle where the resource may never recover. Harvesting helps to maintain a healthy stock. It seems counter-intuitive but that is the way it is.

If the stocks of anchovy and southern krill ever collapse, that is the end of most ocean life. Not just a few whales, most of it. We are taking about Soylent Green levels of collapse.

As for caratenoids being added to feed. It is also in chicken feed. Can you imagine how ugly and grey your morning eggs would be? The consistant, even, color of your morning eggs, comes from the carotenoids added to the feed in the mass market egg factories.

And Becky is right. Catfish and Tilapia are literally shit eaters. That is how they are raised, eating shit.

I was surprised that they list farmed Atlantic salmon as one of the best choices, but like most things, it’s complicated. They only recommend salmon farmed in indoor recirculating tanks with wastewater treatment, or salmon that’s Aquaculture Stewardship Council certified. So the farming method matters, and it’s not as simple as saying all farmed salmon is good or bad.

I had heard that Alaska’s salmon fisheries are some of the most sustainable, and they do list wild caught Alaskan salmon as a good choice as well.

Thanks for all the info folks :slight_smile: