What Do Fish Farms Use For Feed?

If you've ever eaten farmed fish, you may not want to know the answer to the question posed in the headline above.

The use of chicken feces as feed is common in integrated livestock-fish farming, which also involves the transfer of pig and duck waste directly to fish farms.

An international group of bird conservationists believes that this practice -- which is routine in Asia -- may be responsible for the spread of the avian flu.

Some believe the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, which oversees this practice, may have been aware for some time that there were serious health risks involved with mixing farmed fish and animal feces.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

You may not realize that the vast majority of fish served in most restaurants are not wild fish but farm raised. Typically, only seafood specialty restaurants tend to have access to the more expensive wild-caught fish.

So even though there is not a big sign on your menu, it is likely you are consuming farm-raised fish with the feces issue and potential for infections when you think you have ordered something "healthy." This is most unfortunate as wild fish raised in uncontaminated waters is clearly one of the healthiest foods in the world for most people.

The practice of feeding feces, and possibly contaminated feces at that, to farmed fish is disturbing, but not particularly surprising. The practice increases fish growth and therefore profits, and when health and profit collide, health is usually the loser.

Conditions at fish farms are like conditions at factory farms everywhere: overcrowded, sickly, infected animals being fed whatever it takes to grow them as large as possible in as short a time as possible. Fish farm techniques are causing disease to be spread even to wild fish, such as by infecting wild baby salmon with sea lice.

Without exposure to infections and toxins -- and don't forget mercury -- fish would be nearly a perfect food. With conditions as they are, though, both farmed and wild fish should be avoided.

I rarely, hardly ever, order seafood in a restaurant. I choose to get most of my omega-3 fats from fish oil or cod liver oil. If you want to get the same nutritional benefits, but without the dangers, I strongly recommend taking a high-quality fish or cod liver oil daily.

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