It seems that every week I hear alarming news about the quality of fish on our plates. A recent audit game the FDA a failing grade on their monitoring and inspection processes. Genetically modified salmon is in our supermarket shelves, even as a recent study revealed the salmon could escape into the wild and cross-breed, posing a huge environmental risk for wild fish populations.
Although our shrimp fisheries are among the largest and highest valued in the United States, NOAA reports that over 90 percent of the shrimp eaten in the United States is farmed overseas. In fact, shrimp makes up more than 30 percent of all seafood we import by value.
Another investigation uncovered the dirty secrets of the Thai seafood industry, a major provider of shrimp to the U.S, and one of the worst culprits for using high levels of antibiotics and chemicals that damage surrounding ecosystems, not to mention diners.
Salmon farming is being proclaimed as the way of the future, Monsanto too sees industrial aquaculture as a growing source of revenue for their genetically modified soy feed. According to an University of Alaska study 93 percent of the Pacific salmon was wild, while 99 percent of the Atlantic salmon was farmed. They also indicated that 77 percent of the Pacific salmon was domestically produced in the United States, while 94 percent of the Atlantic salmon was imported.
We can do better than this. There are healthy, sustainable fishing communities in our own backyard. So why, then, do we continue to support a seafood industry which produces unhealthy food for our tables? Why do we welcome factory-fed fish into our diets? Low food cost is the siren call. It was the promise of a lower cost, high profit protein source that makes Frankenfish seem like a good idea, and that never-ending shrimp buffet sure does taste good. When we turn a blind eye to where our food comes from in the name of convenience and price, we allow others to make our choices about what kind of food system we want to have. Ignorance may be bliss, but we can no longer afford to ignore the impact of our food choices
Purchase American shrimp, salmon, scallops and other fish; support American workers and put healthy food on your table.