09 Aug Does wild fish have the same quality as farmed fish?
If you’re one of those who look at the labels on fish when shopping, you’ll see that in recent years there has been a clear growth in the amount of fish produced in fish farms. In fact, in 2012 it amounted to 50% of the fish consumed.
Yet there is widespread ignorance on the subject, and therefore many people believe that farmed fish is lower in quality than wild fish because they are crammed with antibiotics and hormones or because the texture, smell or taste is of a lower quality, but you should keep on reading to be able to throw some light on the subject.
Due to the high demand for fish, it is not possible to supply all the populations of the world because there wouldn’t be enough for everyone. This is why aquaculture was created, in order to raise fish such as sea bass or sea bream at more affordable prices.
Farmed fish is controlled nutritionally speaking because the amount of food given to them is measured and with the necessary amount of protein or fat, in addition to the antibiotics that are applied to prevent pests or diseases. Wild fish don’t have any type of control and are obviously more exposed to viral or bacterial diseases.
One of the advantages of farmed fish is that the amount of Omega 3, so beneficial to our heart and circulation, is preserved until the end, and you can therefore rest assured that this fish contains this important fatty acid. The amount of fats and fatty acids in the wild depends on the season, whereas in fish farms they always have the same characteristics due to this exhaustive control of their diet.
Since a great many fish can be raised at the same time, the price is lower than fish caught at sea, and the fisherman’s effort to find species that are often scarce must be paid for.
In aquaculture we can find eco-friendly fish that are fed on vegetable meal and fishmeal in a sustainable way, and that is why the price is higher.
The differences in taste is indeed noticeable between one fish and another, with wild fish having a smoother texture and flavour. The texture may be quite noticeable because those that grow naturally develop more muscle mass because they travel a greater distance or have to swim faster, for example when approaching marine currents.
Contrary to the belief held by some that farmed fish are crammed with antibiotics, after many analyses, it has been concluded that they are all within the established legal limits. As long as they are purchased from legal companies, of course. Illegal fishing or sale entails running the risk of not having any guarantees about the product.
Like livestock or hunting, aquaculture has become part of our current feeding style, though of course we should also continue to encourage people to buy wild fish.