I'm finding it harder and harder to find fish that was not only caught in the wild, but also fish that was processed in the country it was caught. A while back, I stopped buying anything "farm-raised". I also stopped purchasing anything coming out of Asia. Considering about half of the fish on the market comes from a fish farm (www.greenerchoices.com) and more than 80 percent, about 10.7 billion pounds of the seafood Americans eat, comes from outside the United States, mostly from countries with sketchy regulations (Food and Water Watch), we're not eating as much fish as I'd like.
The article on GreenerChoices.org goes on to explain that another problematic trend is that U.S. companies export a good amount of wild-caught seafood to China where it is processed under more lax food safety and labor laws. They then ship it back to the U.S. Approximately 15 percent of U.S. wild-caught salmon and 12 percent of cod is exported to China unprocessed and then imported back from China.
What about organic farm-raised fish? Well, there are no such standards in the U.S. It's being marketed as organic, but without government oversight.
Here are a couple of tips:
Per the article on Prevention.com, switch to wild-caught Alaska salmon. If the package says fresh Atlantic, it's farmed. There are no commercial fisheries left for wild Atlantic salmon.
If you do purchase farmed fish, stick to the following:
• Catfish (U.S)
• Arctic char
• Scallops, Bay
• Striped Bass
And, avoid the following:
• Crayfish (Imported)
• Salmon roe
• Shrimp (Imported)
• Tilapia (China, Taiwan)
• Yellowtail (Australia and Japan)
For a guide specific to your region, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s regional guides.
So, yet another label to read at the grocery store. Maybe I'll write another post with a list of brands in each major food group that I have found to be the best.
Post Update 1/30/10: According to a press release, all salmon sold under Target-owned brands will now be wild-caught Alaskan salmon. Read more: http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/target-farmed-salmon-460110-synd?src=rss#ixzz0e8YsKPJO.