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    Wild Fish vs. Farm-raised Fish: How To Find The Good Stuff

    By thomas | July 7, 2008

    Fish are good for you. But did you know that some fish are better for you than others? I’m not talking about katsuo vs. hirame. I’m talking wild fish vs. farmed fish. Wild fish, the kind that are caught in rivers, seas and oceans are much better for you than farmed fish, the kind fed and raised in a crowded tank.

    Why are wild fish better for you? BrainReady explains (the article mentions salmon, but whatever):

    It’s also important to know that only WILD salmon has been shown to contain the highest levels of the good stuff that your brain & body crave…as wild-caught fish grow and evolve their muscles, tissues and fat levels the hard way, fighting for survival of the fittest in the oceans and rivers. By contrast, many or most farm-raised salmon exist in a locked-up, artificial and sometimes contaminated environment and thus have to be fed food (or worse, color added later just before going to market!) to make them LOOK orange and healthy instead of white and sickly. Ewww!

    Ok, so we know that wild fish are better than farm-raised fish when it comes to nutrition. How do we know which one we are buying at the grocery store? Look no further than the label. For fish that are farmed, the word 養殖 (ようしょく [youshoku]) will appear on the package. This word means something like “bred”, “raised”, “cultivated”. Stores are required to indicate farm-raised fish this way.

    For wild fish (ie. the good kind), there are a couple different ways stores do it.

    1. They will write 天然 (てんねん [tennen]) on the label. This word means something like “natural”. Tennen fish are caught out in the water, not raised in a fish farm.
    2. They won’t write anything at all. The simple lack of the 養殖 (farmed fish) label is evidence enough that the fish is wild.

    That’s it. Here are two pictures of salmon I bought at the store. Can you tell which one is farmed and which one is wild?

    Finding Wild Fish in JapanFinding Wild Fish in Japan

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    Topics: Japanese Food | 11 Comments »Trackback

    11 Responses to “Wild Fish vs. Farm-raised Fish: How To Find The Good Stuff”

    1. Says:
      July 7th, 2008 at 12:51 pm

      Wild Fish vs. Farm-raised Fish: How To Find The Good Stuff |…

      Sleak strong wild fish are much better for you than fat sickly farm-raised fish. Much better. But how do you tell if the fish you are buying at the supermarket were caught in the wild or raised on a fatty fish farm? I’ll tell you….

    2. Skye Says:
      July 9th, 2008 at 4:14 am

      That’s good information to know – especially since fish farming is not particularly good for the environment, either. Thanks!

    3. Alec Says:
      July 10th, 2008 at 7:54 pm

      Don’t be fooled so easily though. Saw a documentary about Scottish salmon; often the ‘wild fish’ are just fish farmed in a tiny cage in a big river. Not much different to farmed fish.

    4. Nina Says:
      July 11th, 2008 at 6:59 am

      Question: I’m assuming that wild fish is more expensive than farmed fish. Have you found this to be the case?

      And what’s up with shopping at AEON?! That place is mad expensive compared to local grocers…well, usually anyway.

    5. thomas Says:
      July 11th, 2008 at 10:28 am

      @Skye: You’re welcome. Hope this information will help you out in the future.

      @Alec: That’s scary. Is there any way to know for sure?

      @Nina: To answer your first question, I don’t know yet. I just figured out this 養殖 thing recently, and I haven’t bought enough fish since to have a good idea. My guess is that they would be more expensive, but probably not by much (though it may vary by fish type).

      To answer your second question, where I live the local grocer is pretty expensive (they only carry 国産 food). I still shop there a lot, but AEON/MaxValu is generally cheaper for most items. Even if it wasn’t cheaper, I’d still shop there occasionally because it is attached to the big shopping center/mall that we go to often (it’s where my import store is). I like to get everything I need in one go if possible.

    6. Jordan Says:
      July 15th, 2008 at 10:26 am

      Thanks for the tips! I love salmon, but have almost zero knowledge of which slices are the best. Now I know! Thanks Thomas!

    7. Liv Says:
      July 17th, 2008 at 3:56 am

      Can’t wait to try this tip out – I’ve been wanting to eat healthier but wasn’t sure how to go about finding wild caught fish that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Thanks for the tip!

    8. Kirsten Says:
      July 30th, 2008 at 4:50 am

      Thanks for the info. Does the same apply to meat when it comes to free range? I would imagine that I would have to go to a fancy meat shop for that though…

    9. Reactions to News on Dangers of Farmed Fish « Procrastination Post Says:
      August 6th, 2008 at 3:33 pm

      […] You can click here to read the entire original article. […]

    10. Patrick Says:
      August 6th, 2008 at 11:24 pm

      I put a comment in this morning…do comments here need moderation?
      Or maybe I forgot to click submit?

      Anyways..thanks for the tips…I’m trying to see if there are labeling rules in Canada…and if labels show this info…

    11. laurel Says:
      February 19th, 2009 at 12:49 am

      I hate farmed salmon, I think it has a huge difference in flavor.
      But not ALL farmed fish is bad for you, or lacking in flavor, actually some farmed stuff is better for the environment.

      Here is a good list of sustainable fish list:

      Thanks for the info!