Wild-caught vs Farm-raised fish??

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Wild-caught vs Farm-raised fish??

Postby gmattson » Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:21 pm

Is there any nutritional difference between wild-caught and farm-raised fish? Is one type better for me than the other?
From both a nutritional and environmental impact perspective, farmed fish are far inferior to their wild counterparts:

• Despite being much fattier, farmed fish provide less usable beneficial omega 3 fats than wild fish.

• Due to the feedlot conditions of aquafarming, farm-raised fish are doused with antibiotics and exposed to more concentrated pesticides than their wild kin. Farmed salmon, in addition, are given a salmon-colored dye in their feed, without which, their flesh would be an unappetizing grey color.

• Aquafarming also raises a number of environmental concerns.

Nutritional Differences
Omega 3 Fat Content
FDA statistics on the nutritional content (protein and fat-ratios) of farm versus wild salmon show that:

• The fat content of farmed salmon is excessively high--30-35% by weight.

• Wild salmon have a 20% higher protein content and a 20% lower fat content than farm-raised salmon.

• Farm-raised fish contain much higher amounts of pro-inflammatory omega 6 fats than wild fish.

These unfortunate statistics are confirmed in a recent (1988-1990) study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to compare the nutrient profiles of the leading species of wild and cultivated fish and shellfish. Three species of fish that contain beneficial omega 3 fats were included: catfish, rainbow trout, and coho salmon.

Farm-raised Fish are Fattier
In all three species, the farm-raised fish were fattier. Not surprising since farm-raised fish do not spend their lives vigorously swimming through cold ocean waters or leaping up rocky streams. Marine couch potatoes, they circle lazily in crowded pens fattening up on pellets of fish chow.

In each of the species evaluated by the USDA, the farm-raised fish were found to contain more total fat than their wild counterparts. For rainbow trout, the difference in total fat (5.4g/100g in wild trout vs. 4.6 g/100g in cultivated trout) was the smallest, while cultivated catfish had nearly five times as much fat as wild (11.3g/100 g in cultivated vs. 2.3 g/100g in wild). Farm-raised coho salmon had approximately 2.7 times the total fat as wild samples.

Cultivated catfish were the worst, with 5 times the fat content of their wild counterparts. Plus, although the farm-raised catfish, rainbow trout and coho salmon contained as much or even more omega-3 fatty acids as their wild equivalents, in proportion to the amount of omega 6 fats they also contained, they actually provided less usable omega 3s.

Farm-raised Fish Provide Less Usable Omega-3 Fats
The reason for this apparent discrepancy is that both omega 3 and omega 6 fats use the same enzymes for conversion into the forms in which they are active in the body. The same elongase and desaturase enzymes that convert omega-3 fats into their beneficial anti-inflammatory forms (the series 3 prostaglandins and the less inflammatory thromboxanesand leukotriennes) also convert omega-6 fats into their pro-inflammatory forms (the series 2 prostaglandins and the pro-inflammatory thromboxanes and leukotrienes). So, when a food is eaten that contains high amounts of omega 6s in proportion to its content of omega 3s, the omega-6 fats use up the available conversion enzymes to produce pro-inflammatory compounds while preventing the manufacture of anti-inflammatory substances from omega-3s, even when these beneficial fats are present.

Farm-raised Fish Contain More Pro-inflammatory Omega-6 Fats
In all three types of fish, the amount of omega 6 fats was substantially higher in farm-raised compared to wild fish. Cultivated trout, in particular, had much higher levels of one type of omega 6 fat called linoleic acid than wild trout (14% in farm-raised compared to 5% in wild samples). The total of all types of omega 6 fats found in cultivated fish was twice the level found in the wild samples (14% vs 7%, respectively).

Wild Fish Provide More Omega-3 Fats
In all three species evaluated, the wild fish were found to have a higher proportion of omega -3 fats in comparison to omega 6 fats than the cultivated fish. The wild coho were not only much lower in overall fat content, but also were found to have 33% more omega 3 fatty acids than their farm-raised counterparts. Omega 3s accounted for 29% of the fats in wild coho versus 19% of the fats in cultivated coho. Rainbow trout showed similar proportions in fatty acid content; wild trout contained approximately 33% more omega 3s than cultivated trout, however both cultivated and wild trout did have much lower amounts of omega 6 fats than the other types of fish.

Antibiotic and Pesticide Use
Disease and parasites, which would normally exist in relatively low levels in fish scattered around the oceans, can run rampant in densely packed oceanic feedlots. To survive, farmed fish are vaccinated as small fry. Later, they are given antibiotics or pesticides to ward off infection.

Sea lice, in particular, are a problem. In a recent L.A. Times story, Alexandra Morton, an independent biologist and critic of salmon farms, is quoted as beginning to see sea lice in 2001 when a fisherman brought her two baby pink salmon covered with them. Examining more than 700 baby pink salmon around farms, she found that 78 percent were covered with a fatal load of sea lice while juvenile salmon she netted farther from the farms were largely lice-free.

While salmon farmers have discounted Morton’s concerns saying that sea lice are also found in the wild, at the first sign of an outbreak, they add the pesticide emamectin benzoate to the feed. According to officials, the use of pesticides should pose no problem for consumers since Canadian rules demand that pesticide use be stopped 25 days before harvest to ensure all residues are flushed from the fish.

Scientists in the United States are far more concerned about two preliminary studies—one in British Columbia and one in Great Britain—both of which showed farmed salmon accumulate more cancer-causing PCBs and toxic dioxins than wild salmon. The reason for this pesticide concentration is the salmon feed. Pesticides, including those now outlawed in the United States, have circulated into the ocean where they are absorbed by marine life and accumulate in their fat, which is distilled into the concentrated fish oil that is a major ingredient in salmon feed. Salmon feed contains higher concentrations of fish oil—extracted from sardines, anchovies and other ground-up fish—than wild salmon normally consume. Scientists in the U.S. are currently trying to determine the extent of the pesticide contamination in farmed salmon and what levels are safe for human consumption.

Research on this issue published July 30, 2003, by the Environmental Working Group, indicates that levels of carcinogenic chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in farmed salmon purchased from U.S. grocery stores are so much higher than levels of PCBs found in wild salmon that they pose an increased risk for cancer. PCBs have been banned in the US for use in all but completely closed areas since 1979, but they persist in the environment and end up in animal fat. When farmed salmon from U.S. grocery stores was tested, the farmed salmon, which contains up to twice the fat of wild salmon, was found to contain 16 times the PCBs found in wild salmon, 4 times the levels in beef, and 3.4 times the levels found in other seafood. Other studies done in Canada, Ireland and Britain have produced similar findings.(September 8, 2003)

Flame Retardants: Another Reason to Avoid Farmed Salmon
Flame-retardant additives used widely in electronics and furniture are appearing in increasing amounts in fish, and farmed salmon contain significantly higher levels of these polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) compounds than wild salmon, according to research published in the August 11, 2004 issue of Environmental Science and Technology.

PBDEs are endocrine disrupters that have been shown to have reproductive toxicity, and are also suspected to play a role in cancer formation. As with other toxins, it is thought that farm-raised salmon contain higher PBDE levels than wild due to the "salmon chow," a mixture of ground fish and oil, they are fed.

The authors of this new study, Ronald Hites of Indiana University and colleagues, analyzed the same group of 700 wild and farmed salmon collected from around the world from which the data was drawn for their initial research on other contaminants in salmon, which was published in Science in January 2004.

As was the case with the 14 contaminants described in the earlier report—which included pesticides such as toxaphene and dieldrin—the researchers found the highest levels of PBDEs, on average, in farm-raised salmon from Europe. But while European farmed salmon had the highest levels, farmed North American salmon came next with significantly higher amounts of PBDEs than were found in farmed salmon from Chile, which, in turn, were higher than the average levels seen in wild salmon.

In both farmed and wild salmon, approximately 50% of the total PBDEs were in the form of one compound: brominated diphenyl ether (BDE) 47. This chemical is associated with the Penta formulation used in polyurethane foam in furniture, which, together with another formulation known as Octa, has been banned in Europe and is being discontinued in the United States. Unfortunately, (BDE) 47 can also be derived from the breakdown of the Deca formulation, which is extensively used in Europe with no plans to discontinue its use either there or in the U.S.

Researchers both in Europe and the U.S. think the problem is not just in the "salmon chow", but the environment as a whole and that PBDEs are probably reaching the open ocean and getting into the marine food web through atmospheric deposition.

To underscore this point, Åke Bergman of Stockholm University’s department of environmental chemistry, one of the first scientists to present evidence that PBDEs were bioaccumulating in humans, says he has found the PBDE levels in wild European salmon are on a par with those Hites has reported for farmed European salmon.

And the environmental contamination is not limited to Europe. Wild chinook salmon from British Columbia were found to have the highest levels of PBDE contamination of any of the salmon Hites tested. He thinks this may be due to the chinooks' tendency to feed higher in the food chain throughout their adult life, eating mainly fish, unlike other salmon species that tend to consume more invertebrates and plankton.

On the other hand, wild Alaskan Chinook tested in Hites' study contained significantly lower PBDE levels, suggesting that the waters the wild chinook inhabit are more contaminated.

Surprisingly, the PBDE content patterns seen in the world's salmon do not match up with the levels found in people; samples of blood and fat from North Americans contain levels 10 times higher, on average, than Europeans, another reason to think some other source of exposure is also at work. Bergman thinks the high U.S. levels are due to inhalation of these substances.

What you can do: Beginning September 2004, U.S. supermarkets are required to label salmon as farmed or wild. We suggest that you choose wild, rather than farmed salmon, and if purchasing chinook salmon, choose Alaskan chinook.(October 10, 2004)

Synthetic Pigment Colors Flesh Pink
In the wild, salmon absorb carotenoids from eating pink krill. On the aquafarm, their rich pink hue is supplied by canthaxanthin, a synthetic pigment manufactured by Hoffman-La Roche. Fish farmers can choose just what shade of peach their fish will display from the pharmaceutical company’s trademarked SalmoFan, a color swatch similar to those you’d find in a paint store. Without help from Hoffman LaRoche, the flesh of farmed salmon would be a pale halibut grey.

European health officials have debated whether the canthaxanthin added to the feed to give farmed salmon their pink hue poses any human health risk. Canthaxanthin was linked to retinal damage in people when taken as a sunless tanning pill, leading the British to ban its use as a tanning agent. (In the U.S., it’s still available.)

As for its use in animal feed, European health officials have debated whether the canthaxanthin added to the feed to give farmed salmon their pink hue poses any human health risk. The European Commission Scientific Committee on Animal Nutrition (SCAN) issued a warning several years ago about the pigment and urged the industry to find an alternative. In 2002, SCAN reviewed the maximum levels of canthaxanthin in fish feeds and determined that the allowable level of 80 milligrams of canthaxanthin per kilogram in feed was too high, and that consumers who ate large amounts of salmon were likely to exceed the Acceptable Daily Intake of 0.03 milligrams per kilogram human body weight. In 1997, the EU’s Scientific Committee on Food recognized a link between canthaxanthin intake and retinal problems, so in April 2002, SCAN suggested lowering the level of canthaxanthin to 25 milligrams per kilogram in feed for salmonids (baby salmon). To date, no government has banned canthaxanthin from animal feed.

Canthaxanthin was linked to retinal damage in people when taken as a sunless tanning pill, leading the British to ban its use as a tanning agent. (In the U.S., it’s still available.) Consumed In high amounts, canthaxanthin can produce an accumulation of pigments in the retina of the eye and adversely affect sight.

Environmental Impact of Farm-raised Fish
A Threat to Small Commercial Fisheries
Salmon farmed in open pen nets are now the source of 50% of the world’s salmon (hatchery fish account for about 30%, and wild fish provide the remaining 20%). Flooding the market with fish-farm salmon has resulted in a drop in the fisherman’s asking price for wild salmon—a price decrease that has forced many small fishing boats off the water.

Polluting the Immediate Environment
Aquafarms, called “floating pig farms,” by Daniel Pauly, professor of fisheries at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, put a significant strain upon their surrounding environment. According to Pauly, "They consume a tremendous amount of highly concentrated protein pellets and they make a terrific mess."

Uneaten feed and fish waste blankets the sea floor beneath these farms, a breeding ground for bacteria that consume oxygen vital to shellfish and other bottom-dwelling sea creatures. A good sized salmon farm produces an amount of excrement equivalent to the sewage of a city of 10,000 people.

Polluting the Food Chain
Sulfa drugs and tetracycline are used to prevent infectious disease epidemics in the dense aquafarm populations are added to food pellet mixes along with, in farm-raised salmon, the orange dye canthaxanthin, to color their otherwise grey flesh. These food additives drift to the ocean bottom below the open net pens where they are invariably recycled into our food stream.

A Threat to Wild Fish
Pesticides fed to the fish and toxic copper sulfate used to keep nets free of algae are building up in sea-floor sediments. Antibiotic use has resulted in the development of resistant strains that can infect not only farm-raised but wild fish as they swim past. Sea lice that infest captive fish beset wild salmon as they swim past on their migration to the ocean.

Perhaps the most serious concern is a problem fish farms were meant to alleviate: the depletion of marine life from over-fishing. Salmon aquafarming increases the depletion because captive salmon, unlike vegetarian catfish which thrive on grains, are carnivores and must be fed fish during the 2-3 year period when they are raised to a marketable size. To produce one pound of farmed salmon, 2.4 to 4 pounds of wild sardines, anchovies, mackerel, herring and other fish must be ground up to render the oil and meal that is compressed into pellets of salmon chow.

Similar to the raising of cattle, farming fish creates a problematic redistribution of protein in the food system. Removing such immense amounts of small prey fish from an ecosystem can significantly upset its balance. According to Rosamond L. Naylor, an agricultural economist at Stanford's Center for Environmental Science and Policy, "We are not taking strain off wild fisheries. We are adding to it. This cannot be sustained forever."

A Threat to Other Marine Life
Other reported environmental impacts from salmon aquaculture include seabirds ensnared in protective netting and sea lions shot for preying on penned fish. Penned salmon also directly threaten their wild counterparts, preying on migrating smolts (immature wild salmon) as they journey to the sea and competing for the krill and herring that nourish wild fish before their final journey home to their spawning grounds. Escapes of farm fish also create problems by competing with wild fish for habitat, spawning grounds and food sources. (About 1 million Atlantic’s have escaped through holes in nets from storm-wracked farms in the Pacific Northwest’s Puget Sound)

A Threat to Biodiversity
The interbreeding of wild and farm stocks also poses a threat of dilution to the wild salmon gene pool.

Biologists fear these invaders will out-compete Pacific salmon and trout for food and territory, hastening the demise of the native fish. An Atlantic salmon takeover could knock nature's balance out of whack and turn a healthy, diverse marine habitat into one dominated by a single invasive species.

Recently, Aqua Bounty Farms Inc., of Waltham, Mass., has begun seeking U.S. and Canadian approval to alter genes to produce a growth hormone that could shave a year off the usual 2.5 to three years it takes to raise a market-size fish. The prospect of genetically modified salmon that can grow six times faster than normal fish has heightened anxiety that these "frankenfish" will escape and pose an even greater danger to native species than do the Atlantic salmon.

A Possible Contributor to Antibiotic Resistance
Rearing fish in such high densities present problems. Infectious disease outbreaks pose financial threats to operators so vaccines and antibiotics are often used to prevent potential epidemics. Sulfa drugs and tetracycline are often added to food pellet mixes as well as canthaxanthin (an orange dye) to impart a rich red-orange color to an otherwise pale gray flesh. Antibiotics are also given to speed growth and increase profits.

In some of the more progressive salmon-rearing operations, fish farmers are raising their Chinook and other species in closed, floating pens so that antibiotics and other wastes can be filtered from the water before it’s released back into the environment.

In the majority of aquafarms, however, these drugs and additives, which quickly build up in the sediment, -will invariably find their way into our food stream. In a paper published in 2002, Bent Halling-Sørensen and his colleagues at the Royal Danish School of Pharmacy noted that one such growth-promoting antibiotic—oxytetracycline—has been found in the sediment of fish-farming sites at concentrations of up to 4.9 milligrams per kilogram. These scientists are concerned that "Antibiotic resistance in sediment bacteria are often found in locations with fish farms"—and may play a growing role in the development of antibiotic resistant germs generally. Should their fears be true, aquafaming may be eroding the efficacy of life-saving drugs, argues Stuart Levy, the director of the Center for Adaptation Genetics and Drug Resistance at the Tufts Medical School in Boston.

Which type of wild salmon should I purchase? Which is best, both for me and for the environment?
When buying salmon, we suggest that you ask for line-caught Alaskan fish first. The healthiest populations and habitats exist in Alaska. In fact, due to the successful efforts of conserving and protecting wild salmon habitats, the Alaska Salmon Fishery recently received the Marine Stewardship Council’s label for sustainability.

Fresh-caught, wild salmon is available nearly eight months of the year, with high quality "frozen at sea" (FAS) line-caught fish available during the interim. The Marine Stewardship Council’s labels are designed to guide consumers to species that are not being over-harvested.

Plus, in a recent blind taste test hosted by Chefs Collaborative in May 2000, at the French Culinary Institute in New York City, wild Alaskan Coho salmon, frozen at sea, ranked first in flavor, texture and aroma.. Wild Oregon Chinook (also called King) salmon, fresh, came in a close second.

Fresh wild salmon too expensive for your tastes? A recent Newsweek article notes that canned salmon will not only cost you less, but is always wild.

One caveat: Fresh “Atlantic” salmon is generally farm-raised—the name refers to the species, not the fish’s origin.

Essential Fatty Acid Ratios in Wild and Farmed Fish
100 grams (3.5 ounces fresh filet of: Total Omega 3 Fats Total Omega 6 Fats Ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 Fats*
Wild Coho Salmon 0.92 grams .06 grams 15.3
Farmed Coho Salmon 1.42 grams 0.46 grams 3.1
Wild Rainbow Trout .77 grams .33 grams 2.3
Farmed Rainbow Trout 1.00 grams .71 grams 1.4
Wild Channel Catfish .29 grams .24 grams 1.2
Farmed Channel Catfish .37 grams 1.56 grams .2

*The higher the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fats, the more able the body is to use the omega 3 fats. A lower ratio means that the enzymes that convert these fats into the forms in which they are active in the body are more likely to be used up by the omega 6 fats.

Table Reference:

Nettleton JA. (2000). Fatty Acids in Cultivated and Wild Fish. Presented paper, International Institute of Fisheries, Economics and Trade (IIFET), IIFET 2000 Conference: Microbehavior and Macroresults. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, July 10-14, 2000.

Some Differences in Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals between Wild and Farmed and Fish
Contaminant Farmed Wild Type of Fish
Tributyltin (pesticide, used to keep barnacles and algae off the paint used on hulls of ships 39 micrograms 28 micrograms mussels
Dibutyltin 26 micrograms (maximum observed amount) 4 micrograms (maximum observed amount mussels
PCBs (symthetic coolants 146-460 ppb salmon

Table References:

Amodio-Cocchieri, R.; Cirillo, T.; Amorena, M.; Cavaliere, M.; Lucisano, A., and Del Prete, U. Alkyltins in farmed fish and shellfish. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2000 May; 51(3):147-51.

Jacobs, M. N.; Covaci, A., and Schepens, P. Investigation of selected persistent organic pollutants in farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), salmon aquaculture feed, and fish oil components of the feed. Environ Sci Technol 2002 Jul 1; 36(13):2797-805.

Rueda, F. M.; Hernandez, M. D.; Egea, M. A.; Aguado, F.; Garcia, B., and Martinez, F. J. Differences in tissue fatty acid composition between reared and wild sharpsnout sea bream, Diplodus puntazzo (Cetti, 1777). Br J Nutr. 2001 Nov; 86(5):617-22.

Adler J. The Great Salmon Debate, Newsweek, October 28, 2002

Nettleton JA. (2000). Fatty Acids in Cultivated and Wild Fish. Presented paper, International Institute of Fisheries, Economics and Trade (IIFET), IIFET 2000 Conference: Microbehavior and Macroresults. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, July 10-14, 2000.

Analysis of PCBs in Farmed versus Wild Salmon. Environmental Working Group, July 30, 2003.

Betts K. Salmon flame retardant research raises new questions. Science News Environmental Science and Technology, August 11, 2004.

Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services, Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 2000.

George R, Bhopal R. Fat composition of free living and farmed sea species: implications for human diet and sea-farming techniques, Br. Food J. 97:19-22, 1995.

Harvey D., Aquaculture outlook, in Aquaculture Outlook, Economic Research Service, U.S. Dept. Agriculture: Washington, DC, October, 1999.

Hites RA, Foran JA, Carpenter DO, Hamilton MC, Knuth BA, Schwager SJ. Global assessment of organic contaminants in farmed salmon. Science. 2004 Jan 9;303(5655):226-9.

Nettleton, J.A. and Exler, J., Nutrients in wild and farmed fish and shellfish, J. Food Sci. 57: 257-260, 1992.

Simopoulos, A.P., Leaf, A. and Salem, N. Jr., Essentiality of and Recommended Dietary Intakes for Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Ann. Nutr. Metab. 43:127-130, 1999.

van Vliet T. and Katan M.B., Lower ratio of n-3 to n-6 fatty acids in cultured than wild fish, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 51:1-2, 1990.

Weiss K. Fish farms become feedlots of the sea. L. A. Times, Dec. 9, 2002.

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Postby Kevin Guse » Wed Mar 01, 2006 2:41 pm

That is a very extensive fish fact article. I personally don't mind fish but rarely find time to eat it. Substitute every day with an omega 3 supplement though.

Any easy ways to shop and cook fish for a bachelor with little time and much of the time cooks all meals using a microwave and grill?

So more, bigger, faster in the case of fish farming isn't always better. Much like a lot of things in our society when we go with the more, bigger, faster theory we end up losing in the end. :idea: :idea: :idea: Hum, for example dojos with 12 belt ranks who teach what people used to learn in a months in one day. Sorry this really doesn't go with the theme of the alternative medicine forum. Just some thoughts.
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However Kevin...

Postby gmattson » Wed Mar 01, 2006 7:02 pm

Soon you will no longer be a bachelor and will no longer have an excuse not to eat properly! :)
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Postby -Metablade- » Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:17 pm

Personally, I'd just be happy if more Americans ate more fish period, farmed or wild.
Hopefully, if more people ate salmon, who knows?
They might even try the other thousand or so edible kinds.

Last night I had this:


But my favorite in all of it's iterations, is this:


BTW, As a fish gobbling expert, Wild has more flavor in my book. But usually more expensive.
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Very True

Postby Kevin Guse » Fri Mar 03, 2006 5:13 am

Soon you will no longer be a bachelor and will no longer have an excuse not to eat properly!

This is very true but it is not the my ability to cook just the time factor right now.


Any easy fish recipes?

We have a very popular restaurant here in Lincoln, Ne called Shogun. They cook the food in the middle of your table (which is a grill). All kinds of Japanese food including Sushi which I have never tried. I have heard it is good and I'm assuming good for you???
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Postby -Metablade- » Fri Mar 03, 2006 5:11 pm

Kevin Guse wrote:

Any easy fish recipes?

We have a very popular restaurant here in Lincoln, Ne called Shogun. They cook the food in the middle of your table (which is a grill). All kinds of Japanese food including Sushi which I have never tried. I have heard it is good and I'm assuming good for you???

Meta: I've got you covered sir! :)
Though river and lake fish are not recommended these days, generally sea fish is ok.
However, I first must predicate with this:
I think perhaps one of the main issues with Americans not eating some much fish are twofold:

1. The often sheer daunting ness of preparation and fear of it. (By this I mean, many fish just plain look weird, and not normally one's first choice of a food item.)

2. The smell.

Item number one:
Fresh is best. It is always best to buy, cook and eat fish the same day, and in many cases, necessary to avoid possible food borne illnesses. If you do not live near the ocean, frozen is your best option. Frozen is quite alright, but it is a dire necessity as well to gage the fish product by the cleanliness of the fish market. If it looks grungy, avoid it.
If the fish market or fish counter smells at all, avoid it completely. Fresh fish has almost no odor.
Also, when you buy the fish, smell it. If it has a slight fishy odor, it's generally ok, but if it stinks, or smells like bad fish...It is. Always.
If frozen, always smell the fish after defrosting and likewise observe the color. Take no chances.

On cooking:
As you have observed from your local Sushi joint, Japanese love to cook in front and preferably eat right from the grill.
The best method is white hot grill, short cooking time, eat while sizzling. The juices are best at that time.

At home:
In my view, the best way to cook fish is whole figure, i.e., gutted and scaled (sometimes not even scaled) only, with the head on. Eating the head is where true gourmet Dom comes in, though even many Japanese do not find this appealing. If you find that having your dinner stare blankly at you from the plate is unnerving, head off is recommended. But keep the tail. All in all, there is something very primal and viscerally satisfying about full figured seafood.

Bones: Believe it or not, there are many fish where bones are quite edible, and indeed provide quite valuable nutrition.
Unless you are eating large cutlets of fish, I recommend keeping the bones in. The larger bones you can remove, but if you eat a small bone or two, I wouldn't worry about choking too much, as long as it is cooked properly, you can chew the smaller bones and swallow without issue.
In smaller fish, they are actually part of the experience, and can add an extra layer of crunchiness.
Removing the bones after cooking in many fish is an acquired skill. After many month or years of practice, you should be able to remove the bone by the spine and all the other larger bones will peel off with it no problem. But just be prepared for a little frustration in the beginning. (Think of it as part of the dining experience)

There really is no "best" method for cooking fish, although your personal tastes will differ.
Personally, I like raw, and Cedar-grilled fish, (which I'll go into later.)
On the issue of raw: Never, ever, ever, ever, prepare your own sushi at home unless you know what you are doing. You can poison yourself very quickly. (bacteria)
However, more and more these days Fish Markets and specialty stores offer pre-cut sashimi for take home. In the latter case, follow the guides about store cleanliness and smell. Color comes into play as well, but unless you are a sushi expert, generally it is meaningless.

The Smell:
This is an issue with whatever cooking method you employ, and especially true with oily fish such as mackerel.
In Japan, special cooking units made of ceramic which have their own differing methods for capturing the cooking odors are advised. (They will also guarantee even cooking and crispy skin.)
If you live on the west coast, I can help you find one.
If you live anywhere else...I haven't a clue.

So let's pretend you don't have one...:lol:
How do you remove the cooking smell?
The short answer is....you really can't. But you CAN reduce it significantly by:

1. Soaking the fish for one hour in whole milk or Miso
2. Wrapping the fish in aluminum foil tightly.
3. Use a large fan and wide ventilation in the kitchen.

Whenever in doubt, a super hot broiler will solve any doubts!

Some things that most non oily fish tastes good with:
(Oily fish usually needs only salt and soy sauce or miso)

1. Lemon (obvious)
2. Miso paste.
3. Soy Sauce (Teriyaki sauce is just sugar and soy sauce, and sometimes "Mirin" which is a Japanese rice vinegar.)
4. Mayonnaise (Preferably mixed with soy sauce or miso)
5. Spinach
6. Capers
7. Marinara sauce
8. Basil
9. Rosemary
10. Mushrooms
(To name a few) Experiment!

A simple recipe for salmon

Charbroiled Cedar Salmon

1 thinly cut (shingle size) cedar. Available at many lumberyards, just make sure it isn't coated or pressure treated.

1 filet of salmon (preferably deboned)
Olive oil, or veg oil, your choice.

Oil the cedar plate well. Be generous
soak the salmon in Milk for one hour
coat the salmon in oil (as generous or not as you like, the more oil, the crispier the outside will be.

Pop it into a blazing hot broiler until "skin" is either brown or blackened.


I also like fried beer batter fish, but I leave the recipes for that to the non Asian cuisine experts. :lol:

Bottom line, is, don't be afraid to experiment, try new types, and have fun while gaining health.
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Postby Kevin Guse » Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:50 pm

Wow thanks Meta. I'll have to give it a try soon here and get back to you. With all the smelling for quality sounds like you wouldn't want to cook or buy fish with a stuffed up nose though. :lol:
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Great post Meta...

Postby gmattson » Wed Mar 08, 2006 10:53 am

Please post it to our food forum. Definitely a "keeper"!
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Re: Wild-caught vs Farm-raised fish??

Postby aileefa » Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:22 am

How to get rid of the smell of spilt Omega 3 oil? My son spilt a bottle of Omega 3 oil in the kitchen on the tile floor. We have washed it with vinegar and cleaners but the smell is still strong. I have also let vinegar soak into the grout but still the smell is there. Can anybody tell me how to get this smell to go away? My house smells like fish!
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