Recently Norway has been causing a stink in Canada for its fish farms set up in the same waters that support the local British Columbia wild Salmon populations- the farmed salmon it seems have a viral disease (Salmon Alpha virus) which attacks the liver and has reportedly infected and killed off millions of the local wild salmon population.
The results of this virus on the food chain are unknown
The food chain not only includes us - the consumer but it has a knock on effect on the entire ecosystem (bears, eagles and all other life which flourishes from the native salmon population)
For us here in Spain its pretty hard to get our hands on wild salmon unless you order from the internet which costs … however a brilliant website to check all your fish types and work out from a moral standpoint if you should be buying it and supporting the trade is:
http://www.fishonline.org/ this provides a comprehensive guide to sustainable and safe fish with a handy downloadable pocket guide.
The section- “find your fish” under the “good fish guide” section allows you to look up your fish and see the rating given for buying and eating.
Artic Char (an oily fish) for example gets a rating of 1- in green – for go but as organically farmed (!!!) It even gives you areas from which you should chose, for example Albacore tuna from south Pacific caught at sea is ok but the same fish from the Indian ocean caught on long line is a BIG NO NO.
OTHER TIPS FOR BUYING FISH:
Chose one of the most nutrient dense forms of Omega 3 concentrated Oily cold water fish from pollution free waters like Herring, Mackerel (check website above for sustainable times) salmon and sardines.
Big fish at the top of the food chain have been thought to contain concentrations of mercury in toxic quantities (tuna, swordfish, shark)
Look for catching practices with the most humane and lesser environmental impact practices - troll or pole caught fish over commercial long line operations.
Choosing light canned tuna over albacore or white will reduce mercury risks since it generally comes form smaller tuna than tuna steaks offered in restaurants or markets.
As a rule we are told to avoid farmed fish due to compromised rearing and production methods, unorthodox feeding materials and medications, widespread disease and pesticides and bacteria in the water. These fish are also higher in Omega 6 than 3 (it’s the omega 3 we want- we already have too much omega 6 in unnatural quantities in our diets)
Having said this if you must eat farmed-trout from the UK is fairly similar to wild
Avoid farmed Salmon form the Atlantic
Fresh water co ho farmed salmon is the best-farmed salmon to buy if available
The exception is Shellfish which are fine to eat farmed, as conditions for them are not significantly different whether farmed or natural. You should eat shellfish at least once a week for their incredible mineral content
Eat fresh over frozen shellfish, catfish, tilapia and Cray fish all of which have impressive nutritional profiles and low toxin risks.
Looking for budget friendly ?– try herring, mackerel and sardines
Stay away from Chinese or Asian imports both wild and famed
Do the sniff test- fish should smell salty not fishy. Eyes should be clear and glassy.