Fish has long been touted as a health food, full of protein and beneficial fats but actually it is one of the most contaminated foods on the planet. Fish kills more people from food poisoning than any other food source!
Think about all the chemicals and farm pesticides and herbicides that are washed into the rivers and into the sea by the rain, not to mention the human excrement that is flushed out into the ocean. Many countries around the world still pump virtually untreated sewage out into their waters and not surpringly fish then feed on it. Sound healthy? Fish are not programmed to filter food, to sort all kinds of micro-organisms out from each other so all those harmful substances are all right there in their bodies. And think about this - fish eat each other. Those non-biodegradable toxins are passed to the next fish, so toxins are going up and up and up, the bigger the fish.
Plankton, where it all starts out, are living in the sea which is already highly polluted with chemical waste... it is then eaten by a little fish... then that fish is eaten by a bigger fish... and this goes on until the fish gets big enough for human consumption.
Platonium and Mercury has been found in the sea, and both have been found in fish. The mercury issue really makes it clear - the larger the fish, the worse the contamination - shark, swordfish, marlin & tuna all have high mercury content and should be avoided. The seriousness of the mercury issue is just coming to light really. Fish are now sadly, due to widespread pollution, one of the worst sources of mercury and human poisoning with it.
The UK Food standards agency now recommends that pregnant women, and women breast-feeding should avoid shark, swordfish and marlin altogether, and seriously limit tuna intake.
Even salmon are contaminated with Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB) and dioxins (Science magazine 2004). PCBs belong to a broad family of man-made organic chemicals known as chlorinated hydrocarbons. Once in the environment, PCBs do not readily break down and are taken up into the bodies of small organisms and fish. PCB is linked to: cancer; disruption of the human reproductive system, including fetal brain development; and damage of the nervous system.
So while fish now carries a government health warning for children and pregnant women due to the toxic pollutants it contains it is at the same time being widely promoted as the best source of omega-3 fats. There's so much hype these days about fish oils that no wonder people feel confused.
It's true the human body needs essential fatty acids (EFAs) but the propaganda being pushed by the industries that insist fish is necessary to good health is misleading. Omega oils from fish are unbalanced. The omega oils from flax seed or hemp seed however are balanced and don't come with all the health risks that fish does! Other great plant-based sources are rapeseed oil, olive oil, avocado, nuts and green leafy vegetables so a well balanced healthy diet should already contain enough of the good fats that you need. Fish oils are also an anti-coagulant (which stops blood from clotting correctly) which could be why Eskimos often die young from brain hemorrhages - it is thought their brains bleed because of the fish oils they are constantly ingesting.
It has been discovered also that Eskimos have the worst recorded osteoporosis on the planet. Blood plasma is 7.35, slightly alkaline. All animal protein is acidic. Calcium stores held within the bones are released to nuetralise the higher acidity. Tests have shown that after eating an animal protein meal, excessive protein is excreted through the urine. But plant protein is not acidic, it is alkaline, so it does not lower the ph level. It actually protects you from Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is not caused by a lack of calcium in your diet, it is caused by the calcium depleters in your diet. All animal proteins, including fish, are calcium depleters.
In a recent study, children aged seven in the Faroe Islands of Scotland, where large amounts of mercury-laden fish is eaten regularly, had an area of the brain that didn't work properly. And by the time they were fourteen it has worsened. In autopsies done on humans who died of Alzheimers disease, raised levels of mercury have been common. Other research is also linking Alheimers disease to mercury.
Contrary to popular belief, all fish and shellfish also contain cholesterol. Prawns, for example, contain four times as much cholesterol as a rump steak.
And despite its promotion as a good source of unsaturated 'healthy' fats, much of the fat found in oily fish is saturated. Grilled salmon, for example, contains as much saturated fat as a chicken drumstick.
Fish is not a health food. It is acidic to your body and contains no fibre.
The essential fatty acids found in fish are not the only source, nor are they the best. They contain saturated fat, are loaded with toxic pollutants known to damage health and no-one knows the long term effects of being exposed constantly to these chemicals. Our hearts don't need fish, our brains certainly don't and our health is far better served by plant-based alternatives. So, if you care about your body, stop listening to the marketing deception, let your thinking evolve and eradicate fish from your diet today!
Holford, P., The New Optimum Nutrition Bible
Murata, K. et al., 'Delayed brainstem auditory evoked potential latencies in 14 year old children exposed to methlymercury', Journal of Pediatrics (2004); Grandjean, P. et al, 'Cardia autonomic activity in methylmercury neurotoxicity: 14 year follow-up of Farose birth cohort', ibid
Wenstrup, D. et al., 'Trace element imbalances in isolated subcellular fractions of AD patients', Brain Research, vol 553, pp. 125-31 (1990)
Hock, C. et al., 'Increased blood mercury levels in patients with AD', Journal of Neural Transmission, vol 105(1), pp.59-68 (1998)
Dr Robert Young, The pH Miracle
Fish Farms: Underwater Factories
|"Conditions on aquafarms are so horrendous that on some farms, 40 percent of the fish may die before farmers can kill and package them for food."|
Fish farming, or “aquaculture,” has become a billion-dollar industry, and more than 30 percent of all the sea animals consumed each year are now raised on these “farms.” The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization reports that the aquaculture industry is growing three times faster than land-based animal agriculture, and fish farms will surely become even more prevalent as our natural fisheries become exhausted.
Aquafarms can be based on land or in the ocean. Land-based farms raise thousands of fish in ponds, pools, or concrete tanks. Ocean-based aquafarms are situated close to shorelines, and fish in these farms are packed into net or mesh cages. All fish farms are rife with pollution, disease, and suffering, regardless of their location.
| "We don't take what Mother Nature throws at us. This is a factory for fish." |
—Bill Evans, Vice President of Mariculture Systems, Inc., Salmon-farming company
Aquafarms squander resources—it can take 5 pounds of wild-caught fish to produce just 1 pound of farmed fish—and pollute the environment with tons of fish feces, antibiotic-laden fish feed, and diseased fish carcasses.
Fish on aquafarms spend their entire lives in cramped, filthy enclosures, and many suffer from parasitic infections, diseases, and debilitating injuries. Conditions on some farms are so horrendous that 40 percent of the fish may die before farmers can kill and package them for food. In short, fish farms bring suffering and ecological devastation everywhere they go.
|Many land-based aquafarms are indoors, so farmers even control the amount of light that fish get.|
|These farmed fish will spend their entire lives crammed together, constantly bumping against each other and the sides of their grossly overcrowded cage.|
Fish Farms: Underwater Factories
Raising Farmed Fish
When they are only 4 to 7 inches long, young fish (called “fingerlings”) are transported from the hatchery where they were born to the fish farm. This is the first of many moves that they will make before their final trip to the slaughterhouse.
Fecal Stew (And That’s Not the Worst of It)
Contaminants from ocean-based aquafarms (fish excrement, uneaten chemical-laden food, and swarms of parasites) spread to the surrounding ocean, and the rampant disease inside the cages is passed on to ocean fish in the area, in some cases increasing the incidence of sea lice 1,000-fold.
Sea lice are a regular occurrence on salmon farms. These parasites eat at the fish, causing their scales to fall off and creating large sores. In severely crowded conditions, lice often eat down to the bone on fish’s faces. This is so common that fish farmers have taken to calling it the “death crown.”
Injuries and Death From Fighting and Rough Treatment
In intensely crowded fish farms, small fish are bullied and killed by larger fish, so fish are continually sorted to make sure that faster-growing individuals are moved to the appropriate size grouping. At each sorting, they are netted or pumped out of their tanks and dumped onto a series of bars and grates with varying space gaps to divide them by size and redistribute them into different netted cages or tanks; small fish slip through the small grates, while larger fish fall through the larger gaps. This practice, called “grading,” is very stressful and results in painful scrapes and loss of scales.
High-tech, high-volume systems control food, light (on indoor farms), and growth stimulation. Drugs, hormones, and genetic engineering are used to accelerate growth and change reproductive behaviors. High mortality rates, disease, and parasite infestations are common. Deformities and stress-related injuries are also a regular occurrence; on some farms, as many as 40 percent of the fish are blind—which is not addressed because it is not a problem for fish farmers.
Since they are designed to navigate vast oceans and use all their senses to do so, many fish go insane from the cramped conditions and lack of space in fish farms. The tight enclosures inhibit their ability to navigate properly and cause them to knock against each other and the sides of the enclosure—this jostling causes sores and damage to their fins, as well.
Stocking densities (the number of fish per cubic foot of water) are not a function of fish welfare and are raised until the death losses outweigh the benefits of cramming more fish into a smaller space. Salmon farms are so overcrowded—with as many as 50,000 individuals in each enclosure—that a 2.5 foot fish spends his or her entire life in a space the size of a bathtub; trout farms are even more crowded, with as many as 27 full-grown fish in a bathtub-sized space.
|Sea lice are a regular occurrence on salmon farms. These parasites eat at the fish and cause their scales to fall off, creating large sores. In severely crowded conditions, lice often eat down to the bone on fish’s faces. This is so common that fish farmers have taken to calling it the “death crown.”|
Fish Slaughter: Unregulated Suffering
In the United States, there are no regulations to ensure the humane treatment of fish, despite the fact that billions of farmed fish are slaughtered every year. Though they may seem alien to us, fish are unique and intelligent individuals who feel pain, just as all animals do.
As many as 40 percent of farmed fish die before the farmer is ready to slaughter them. Fish who survive are starved before they are sent to slaughter in order to reduce waste contamination of the water during transport. Salmon, for example, are starved for 10 full days.
Fish slaughter plants in the U.S. make no effort to stun the fish, who are fully conscious when they start down the slaughter line. Their gills are cut, and they are left to bleed to death, convulsing in pain. Large fish, such as salmon, are sometimes bashed on the head with a wooden bat called a “priest,” and many are seriously injured but still alive and suffering when they are cut open. Smaller fish, like trout, are often killed by simply draining water away and leaving them to slowly suffocate or by packing them in ice while they are still fully conscious. Because fish are cold-blooded, allowing them to suffocate on ice prolongs their suffering, leaving them to experience excruciating pain for as long as 15 minutes before they die.
The crude methods used to kill fish for human consumption are truly ghastly. Cutting their gills, beating them with bats, suffocating them, or freezing them—all these slaughter practices are completely legal and unregulated. If the victims were dogs, cats, cows, or pigs instead of fish, fish farmers could be charged with felony cruelty to animals. The best way to put an end to cruelty against fish is to stop eating them.
|The methods used to slaughter fish in the United States are both grotesque and inhumane. Fish farmers may bash large fish with a bat or slit their gills, and smaller fish are often packed in ice and left to suffocate or freeze to death.|
Fish Farms: Underwater Factories
Many species of farmed fish are carnivorous, which means that fish must be caught from our already-exhausted fisheries to feed the fish on aquafarms. It can take more than 5 pounds of fish from the ocean to produce 1 pound of farmed salmon or seabass. Aquafarmers have even begun to feed fish oil and fish meal to fish who naturally eat only plants in an effort to make them grow faster. Plus, fish farmers lace fish feed with powerful chemicals and antibiotics to ward off the deadly diseases caused by the overcrowding and filth. It’s likely that these fish pellets are the cause of the higher PCB and dioxin contamination levels found in farmed fish, which are seven times higher than the already-dangerous levels found in their wild counterparts.
|Fish farm cages are filthy—polluted by chemical-laced fish food and fish excrement.|
|It can take more than 5 pounds of fish to produce 1 pound of farmed salmon or seabass.|
Now that commercial fishing has all but emptied our oceans of target animals, the seafood industry has turned to raising fish in contained fish farms. These farms raise millions of fish in netted cages in coastal waters. Confining so many fish in small areas leads to extreme fecal contamination, deadly diseases, parasite outbreaks, and the depletion of wild fish stocks. You may be surprised to learn that many of the fish in supermarkets today come from these farms—for instance, 80 percent of the salmon sold in the United States. This means that if you eat fish, you may be supporting horribly cruel fish farms that are even worse for the environment than commercial fishing.
The massive amount of feces produced by fish on aquafarms is bad for the environment, and the farms leave behind drugged feed and animal corpses that upset the natural balance of the aquatic ecosystem. According to the Norwegian government, the salmon and trout farms in Norway alone produce roughly the same amount of sewage as New York City. In some cases, the massive amount of fish excrement settling below fish cages has actually caused the ocean floor to rot. Dead fish carcasses and uneaten antibiotic-laden fish feed also pollute the coastal areas that surround these farms. The sludge of fish feces and other debris can be toxic for already-strained ocean ecosystems.
Besides turning coastal waters into open sewers, the crowding on aquafarms leads to the rapid spread of disease and parasites. In addition to infecting the fish in cages, ocean-based fish farms introduce parasites into wild fish populations. Fish afflicted with parasites such as sea lice suffer from painful open sores and may die. Fish farms are most likely a factor in the continued decline in the health of wild fish. Not only are the fish in farms sick, they’re also making shrinking wild fish populations sick as well. Farmers dump pesticides into the water to try to combat fish parasites such as sea lice, further polluting our coastlines and introducing even more chemicals into fish flesh.
Perhaps even more disturbing is the fact that fish farms are responsible for introducing non-native fish into areas where they take over indigenous species’ habitats. For example, despite fish farmers’ assurances that the fish would be safely contained, more than 1 million Atlantic salmon have escaped from coastal farms in the past three years. Farmed salmon have reproduced with such great success that they now dominate the habitats and food supply of the already threatened wild salmon—a conflict that, in recent years, has catastrophically reduced the population numbers of wild salmon.
Introducing foreign fish-farm species such as Atlantic salmon can seriously endanger native fish species and throw entire natural balances askew—with completely unknown results.
Commercially caught fish and farmed fish are, in many respects, part of the same industry. Fish farms directly support commercial fishing businesses because fish on farms are fed large quantities of wild-caught fish. Even fish who would naturally eat plants are forced to eat other fish on aquafarms so that they will grow faster. It takes 5 pounds of ocean-caught fish to produce 1 pound of farmed fish.
It is common to see the remnants of angling—fishing with a pole and line—long after anglers go home for the day. Anglers deplete already-threatened fish populations, and lost lures and tangled fishing line litter the banks of many lakes, rivers, and ocean shores. People who fish for “sport” are contributing to the decline of our natural fisheries, and lost lures and tangled fishing line cause death and environmental damage.
Anglers are killing off fish who are already threatened by pollution and habitat loss. A recent study confirms that anglers kill a far larger proportion of threatened species than previously thought—they cause almost 25 percent of the deaths of over-fished saltwater species. Hooks don’t discriminate, so endangered and threatened species cannot be protected from injury or death if angling is allowed in their habitats.
Anglers prefer to catch some fish species over others. To keep large numbers of these “desirable” species in lakes and rivers, fish are trucked in from hatcheries and released into lakes and rivers all over the country. Dumping farmed fish into waterways is called “stocking.” Many anglers wait to learn where these young fish have been released so they will be guaranteed to catch buckets of fish at the location. And in some cases, thousands of fish are released just before a fishing tournament so that more fish can be caught.
Anglers have killed so many fish that many of our lakes and rivers would be empty if they weren’t stocked with farm-raised fish. And while anglers are trying to hook a specific species, many nontarget animals are injured or killed. Some lakes are completely drained just to improve conditions for anglers, killing countless animals who live in the lake or depend on it for food and water.
But the deaths don’t stop when the anglers go home because the fishing gear that they leave behind continues to threaten all wildlife. Birds, marine mammals, endangered sea turtles, and dozens of species of fish are injured by abandoned fishing equipment and suffer slow, agonizing deaths. Coastal towns report that animal injuries commonly occur from discarded gear.