farmed fish at carp farm

Reconsidering farmed seafood

posted by Veronique Koch on 12 November 2013

When people hear the words “farmed seafood”, they often have a knee-jerk reaction. I should know, I sometimes still do. Images of cramped pens oozing waste and consuming exorbitant amounts of fish feed made from wild-caught fish come to mind. But as we have come to learn, fish farming is not a black or white issue. It’s all about sustainability. Sustainable seafood is the message behind the film Fish Meat, which is why we are always delighted when someone in the food industry watches it.

Recently we interviewed Top Chef Jeffrey Jew, who is all about keeping a sustainable menu for his clients. He said that he hates seeing the oceans being bled dry of certain species of fish. We agree, some fish are in big trouble. But what struck a cord with us was what Chef Jew said next. “I tend to stay away from farmed seafood and go to wild caught.” We understood where he was coming from, but felt that sometimes people aren’t aware of the more sustainable options. So what did we do? We sent him a copy of Fish Meat, of course.

Top Chef Jeffrey Jew not farmed seafoodChef Jew was gracious enough to review Fish Meat for us, and here is what he had to say:

“Fish Meat is a eye opening movie about fish, fishing, and the state of our oceans in the 21st century. It takes you through an emotional journey in Turkey where you see the damaging effects of overfishing. Wild fish will soon be gone, and sadly aquaculture is the future.

Fish Navy Films does an amazing job highlighting the good, bad, and the ugly in aquaculture. There are sustainable options, ones rich with history and longevity. But, there are newer forms of aquaculture feeding the masses in an unsustainable way.

By watching Fish Meat you will begin to understand what aquaculture is and that it is inevitable. The film takes you on a journey from farm to farm showing you the different methods used to farm these fish, and asks the question on which we should be supporting? The answer lies with us, the consumer. Will we protect the environment and use techniques that have been around for centuries or will we adopt a future of aquaculture that is selfish and damaging?”

So we had to ask, did watching Fish Meat change his mind about farmed seafood? Yes!

“Obviously the more sustainable aquaculture that has been around for centuries (that is shown in Fish Meat) is what I prefer. It was more peaceful and the surrounding communities benefited from the farming techniques.”

What are your thoughts about farmed seafood?

2 thoughts on “Reconsidering farmed seafood

  1. I am so glad to see chef Jew change his mind. The thing to remember is that farming fish should be compared to other forms of agriculture, not to wild capture. If you think your beef, pork, chicken etc comes from anything less intensive than a fish farm, you are greatly mistaken (with some exceptions of course). There are good choices from wild fisheries and there are many good farmed seafood options of good healthy seafood products. Fish Meat does a great job of outlining the issues and brings to light that there are bad practices.

    1. Veronique Koch says

      Thanks very much, Richard. Chef Jew is a wonderfully open-minded chef and we hope his change of heart brigs about some exciting new menu choices for him and his clients (and his upcoming restaurant!).

      We agree that you need to research basically everything you eat now if you are dedicated to eating sustainably sourced food.

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