Farm Raised Versus Wild Caught Fish — What is the Real Difference?
What are the real differences when it comes to farm raised versus wild caught fish? Jennifer Hill of Local Abundance of Allentown, NJ provides some expertise on the matter that may change your perception.
Farm raised versus wild caught fish is typically the decision made at the seafood counter in a grocery store, with the general opinion being that wild caught is the safer and healthier choice. However, Allentown, N.J.-based Local Abundance is working to shift the perception of farm raised or “aqua cultured” seafood by educating the consumer that not all farm raised is created equal. Founder of Local Abundance, Jennifer Hill, provided some insight into the differences and what the consumer to be aware of.
First off, what is the difference between farm raised versus wild caught fish? Wild caught seafood is harvested by fishermen straight from oceans, lakes and rivers. Farm raised or “aqua cultured” seafood has been raised in a controlled environment, much like a farmer would raise cattle or crops on land. Now, aqua culture has been used for centuries but has transformed into an industry that tends to look for way to maximize profits. Due to this, many farms have utilized practices such as overcrowding of fish, synthetic feeds filled with colorants, growth stimulants and antibiotics to insure the fish grow as quickly as possible as cheaply as possible. These methods can have devastating effects not only on the fish but on the environment and human health. Not all aqua culture is bad, however, it is actually a vital component to protecting wild fish stocks and feeding a hungry and constantly growing human population.
Can you explain? Seafood is the primary protein source for the planet so, if the whole world suddenly stopped eating aqua cultured seafood and only ate wild caught seafood, many popular species would be wiped out in a very short period of time. It would be impossible for fish to reproduce fast enough to keep up with the human consumption demand. The key to protecting species, the environment and human health is to support responsible farms and educate the consumer. For example, one of Local Abundance’s salmon is sourced from Wester Ross, which is an independently owned farm in Scotland that has received many designations for their responsible practices. These responsible practices include rotating fallowing pens frequently, never overcrowding fish or feeding chemicals of any kind. The fish are only fed organic and natural feed that imitates what they would eat in the wild. The result is a spectacular, clean product, full of nutrients that is incredibly delicious. Most importantly, it gives wild salmon a break!
This is one of the goals of Local Abundance, to educate the consumer about responsibly providing aqua cultured proteins to consumers and restaurants.
How does Local Abundance work? Orders can be made through their website or through email. They can also be shipped to you via USPS for free if the order hits a certain minimum. Owner Jennifer Hill is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about the food that they provide, which many restaurants in Manhattan and New Jersey source from Local Abundance. They are the main seafood provider for Brick Farm Tavern in Hopewell, N.J. as well. In addition to seafood, Local Abundance also offers many other proteins such as pork, chicken, and a line of smoked proteins under their “Castle Island Smokehouse” brand. All first orders receive $10 off.
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