I’d like to expand a little on my recent interview for a CNN piece by Elizabeth Landau entitled “Farmed or wild fish: Which is healthier?”
At face value, this question can partialy be answered by comparing the nutritional content in farmed and wild fish and weighing the health benefits of fish consumption against the risks of pollutants present in fish. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies has expertly covered this topic in Seafood Choices: Balancing Benefits and Risks, and authorities like Dr. Charles Santerre, have produced an excellent seafood consumer guide (Fish for Your Health wallet card) based on Omega-3 fatty acids, mercury and PCBs in fish. These comprehensive benefit-risk analyses and consumer-friendly information are useful and important contributions, though focus solely on human health.
In any discussion of seafood, it is also important to consider the negative impacts of fish farming or wild-caught fishing can have on the environment. These environmental impacts are considered as the basis for progressive fish certification schemes (examples: Friends of the Sea or Marine Stewardship Council) and consumer recommendation lists (example: Monterey Bay Aquarium wallet card) (read more). Sustainability should be an important consumer consideration, though in these certification schemes and consumer guidance materials, human health considerations are often absent.