Fish isn’t “health” food! Fish are friends!

Years ago, when I first decided I wanted to be a vegetarian at age 14, I was still eating fish. I later discovered there was an easier way to say, “I’m a vegetarian, but I eat fish.” It’s called pescatarian (like the Spanish word “pescador” which means “fisherman”). I loved fish, I loved sushi, broiled mackerel in miso, salmon marinated in soy sauce, etc. My mom’s Japanese, her influence definitely rubbed off on me (I ate healthy home-cooked meals, I now realize how valuable that was). But since I became a vegan more than a year ago, I’ve learned how harmful consumption of fish is….and the dirty secrets about the industry that produces our animal products, I never want to eat fish again. I also still get to enjoy my food, especially veggie sushi rolls! Yum!

Home-made deliciousness!

Home-made deliciousness!

melville quote

Fish is not the next “clean-eating food”, nor is it even remotely healthy, once you understand some key fish facts. In fact, our fishing industry is quite…fishy…

Here’s a list of reasons consuming fish harms our bodies, other animals, and our planet:

  1. Commercial fishing is destroying the ocean floor: There are a couple of methods of commercial fish farming in particular that strip our seafloor. There is trawling, a large net that is dragged along the ocean floor to catch shrimp bottom-dwelling fish and dredging, dragging a large metal-frame basket along the ocean floor to  catch shellfish. Both methods damage the seafloor habitat and bottom-dwelling sea creatures who call it home. *
  2. Other sea creatures are injured or killed: These methods of commercial fishing, as well as others including: gillnetting, midwater trawling, and purse seining, can yield large amounts of bycatch. Larger creatures, like dolphins, sharks, and sea turtles can also become entangled in nets or caught unintentionally. When these fish are hauled to the surface they can be killed. *
  3. Rise of the aquaculture industry (fish farming): The aquaculture industry is seen as the answer to the depleted oceans. More and more of our fish is being raised and harvested in these glorified fish tanks to meet the demands of consumption. Fish is touted by many as a healthy food, but think again. Over 50% of the fish consumed is farm-raised.**
  4. Farmed fish is non-nutritious: Farm-raised fish get little or no exercise, so their fat to muscle ratio is unnatural, much like today’s cattle. Farm fish are fed an unnatural diet of corn and soy, which we grow in excess due to govt. subsidies and big companies like Monsanto. Corn and soy products are high in Omega-6 fatty acids and low in Omega 3’s, thus producing an inflammatory effect in the fish, making them sick. The accumulated Omega-6’s also inflame humans when not balanced with a 1:2 -1:4 ration of Omega 3’s to Omega 6’s.Fish are also routinely given antibiotics to keep them alive long enough to be harvested as they swim in their own feces-tanks (the same thing is done with cows, hello antibiotic resistance in humans!)**
  5. Polluted oceans and fish poop: Farmed fish and their tanks are diseased and filthy. The large quantities of fish packed into small areas of containment (much like Concentrated Animal Feed Operations aka CAFOs) make it the perfect breeding ground for diseases, which spread to wild sea life. In an effort to control diseases and disinfect the fish farms, large amounts of antibiotics and chemicals are used on the fish, this also spreads to the surrounding ocean areas. Farmed fish also poop, a lot. Like all animal waste, it contains methane and nitrogen which promotes algae growth. Excess algae deoxygenates the water and leads to dead zones where nothing can survive. This same thing happens with runoff from CAFOs which pollutes oceans and rivers, and again, the nitrogen promotes excess algae growth and methane is the worst contributor to global warming. **
  6. Farming fish is CRUEL: Fish feel. They escape from their farm existence, thus reducing credibility of so called “wild caught” fish, which may be escaped farm fish. Farmed fish will always live shorter lives and die in ways that are slow and painful. Imagine what lives they could have had.**
  7. You can live without eating fish. Enough said. There are many people, myself included who don’t eat fish for the above reasons and many more. I still get to enjoy so many types of veggie sushi! Fish-less fish sauce is also available for everyone who really enjoys Asian food, like me 🙂

fish are friends not food

Sources:

*Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, “Fishing and Farming Methods”, 2014.

**Mind Body Green, “9 Things Everyone Should Know About Farmed Fish”, Nov. 7, 2013.

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2 thoughts on “Fish isn’t “health” food! Fish are friends!

  1. Great post, and I really like that Herman Melville quote, very profound!

    My girlfriend’s little 5 year old cousin recently decided he wanted to be vegetarian, and when we asked him why, he said ‘fish are my friends’. It’s a shame a lot of us lose that innocence and connection to other species as we grow up and get conditioned by the media and social norms!

    Again, really great post, keep up the great work!

    Like

    • Wow, thank you! Your comment reminded me of a YouTube clip I’ll post of this little French boy asking his mother why they eat animals, it really makes you think, and reminds you of childrens’ connection, like you mentioned! I think that is amazing that your gf’s cousin decided to be vegetarian at age 5! He will need a lot of support because of all the misinformation out there that even teachers and professionals espouse. The media, govt. and food industry have gone to great lengths to disconnect people from seeing the food on their plate as the animals they once were and the lives that might have been!

      Liked by 1 person

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