Spotlight on Aquaculture: Is it Useful to Eat Artificial Fish?
Aquaculture now provides about half of the production of fish and aquatic invertebrates. On the one hand, the more grown fish, the less the need for fishing. But on the other hand, aquaculture has a number of significant negative effects. Behind the beautiful word aquaculture lies the artificial cultivation of fish in cages. Poultry farm for fish. But as there is a difference in taste between the village chicken and the poultry factory, the taste and usefulness of wild fish and bred in captivity also vary.
Modern society sets new standards for the consumption of food, and producers have to reckon with them. In this connection, there was a need for artificial fish farming.
Aquaculture now provides about half of the production of fish and aquatic invertebrates. On the one hand, the more grown fish, the less the need for fishing … But on the other hand, aquaculture has a number of significant negative effects, according to a recently published World Wildlife Fund (WWF) environmental guide for buyers and sellers of fish products.
What kinds of fish are most often grown artificially in Aquaculture
- Carp (domesticated carp)
- Sturgeon fish (Siberian sturgeon, sterlet, Russian sturgeon, sturgeon hybrids)
- Some species of salmon, for example, trout
- Atlantic salmon (salmon)
- Sigovye species of fish – peled, whitefish, nelma
- Vegetable fishes (cupids and carnivores)
Also, aquaculture objects are bivalves (mussels, oysters, scallops), crustaceans (shrimps, crayfish), echinoderms (trepangs, sea urchins), aquatic plants.
And also salmon, rainbow trout, sea bass, bream, pangasius (often called bass or river catfish), shrimp are the most common types of artificially grown fish and seafood.
It is believed that to date in developed countries, about half of all fish and seafood consumed are grown in fish farms. In supermarkets and restaurants in Europe, most likely, you buy or you will be offered artificially grown salmon. Commercial salmon on sale is much less common, and it will cost much more.
What is artificial fish breeding or Aquaculture?
As a rule, the artificial breeding process is as follows:
With the help of breeding, select the parent that is most suitable for artificial breeding.
Fish eggs are placed in small reservoirs. The grown fry is then transferred to larger tanks. There is a feeding of fry, which are under constant supervision.
When the fry reaches a weight of about 150 g, they are moved to large ponds or enclosed areas in the sea (such as shown in the figure above).
Next, the fish receives concentrated food until it reaches the desired weight. During the whole time, the state of the fish is constantly monitored, often using underwater cameras.
After reaching the desired weight, the fish is sent to the processing plants for subsequent evisceration and packaging.
Do all types of aquaculture fish have similar consumer properties?
It is difficult to find two absolutely identical livestock farms. The same can be said about fish farms. Each manufacturer has its own standards, which make it possible to provide favorable conditions for keeping fish. Each farm uses its methods to reduce the harmful impact on the environment. However, the lack of uniform standards significantly complicates the lives of customers.
Eggs, chicken meat and pork produced with environmental care have long ceased to be a rarity on store shelves. Products with labels “Red Tractor”, “Approved by RSPCA” (RSPCA Approved), “free-range animal meat” and “organic products” are widely represented. And we do not have such choice with regard to artificially grown fish and seafood.
Similarly to the way in Europe before, cattle were grown with the use of large doses of antibiotics, now they are growing fish. Not only antibiotics are used, but also pesticides, which are designed to clean excessively polluted water bodies. Dietitians urge whenever possible to buy “wild” fish, if there is full confidence in the supplier of aquaculture fish.
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The use of feed additives and veterinary drugs in aquaculture is less common than in livestock, milk or poultry. But, of course, veterinary drugs in aquaculture are also used. Today, more attention is paid to prophylactic drugs (probiotics). When bacterial diseases occur, veterinarians use antibiotics. The use of antibacterial drugs is limited to 30 days before the sale of such fish.
For human health, fish and seafood, artificially grown in cages, especially in the Mekong Delta, can be dangerous, biologists warn. When fish are grown artificially, fodders are used, in which fish growth accelerators, medicines, including antibiotics, and also dyes, which make such a fish appetizing, are often added. All this makes risky the use of such fish, especially if it occurs regularly.
Harmful substances have the property of accumulating, and the frequent use of this fish for food can even lead to different illnesses, in particular, to impaired vision.
But, even “wild” fish can cause harm to health. Recent research shows that even commercial fish meat is often contaminated with chemical toxic substances: industrial enterprises are actively emitting mercury into the environment, polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxin and other contaminants that enter the water, and then through the food chain into the fish.
Polychlorinated biphenyls belong to the group of persistent organic pollutants, monitoring of which in air, water and soil is mandatory in developed industrial countries due to their high danger to the environment and public health.
For the first time, polychlorinated biphenyls were produced in the United States by Monsanto in 1929. These are oily liquids that are not flammable and do not conduct electricity, but conduct heat well. Polychlorinated biphenyls are resistant to acids and alkalis.
However, aquaculture technologies have great potential for improvement, including from the viewpoint of reducing its impact on the environment. In some cases, aquaculture can reduce the poaching press on wild populations, develop sport fishing. In addition, black caviar and raised sturgeon produced in fisheries are the only legitimate alternative to caviar and fish caught by poachers.
But on the counter, wild, legally caught fish should take a more privileged position than cage fish.
In America and Western Europe, wild salmon costs much more than cultivated about the same quality. And it’s not just about taste differences, but about the fact that people need to come into contact with wildlife, feel part of it, including through food. Visit our Health page.
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