Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pescitarian or Vegetarian ?

Ignorance can really be bliss sometimes.  I swear that the more we learn about our food system, that scary it becomes.

Firefly and I became pescitarians 7 months ago for various reasons.  One of those reasons (at the time) was that we really didn't want to support the non sustainable practices of the meat industry.  I say at the time because it has become more of a moral issue for me now on top of the environmental one.

We debated between becoming vegetarian, vegan, or Pescitarians.

We decided vegan was out mainly due to eggs.  Chickens and ducks lay unfertilized eggs regardless of if we eat them or not.  I have however, started leaning away from leather products and am currently looking into non leather work boots.

In the end, we settled on pescitarian because of wild non farm raised fish.  I figured this type of fish was safe for us to eat and save for the environment.  (This is the ignorant is bliss part)  We bought wild fish at the store and ate whatever fish they served us when we went out.  Eating fish just HAS to be better for the world..right?  Depends.

Turns out farmed fish can be better for the environment depending on what it is feed and how the wild fish is caught.  Farmed tilapia is feed plant matter while farmed salmon is feed 3 other fish that are caught in the very unsustainable way of trolling (dragging a large net, up to the size of 6 jumbo jet, through the ocean and clear cutting everything in it's path)

There is a wonderful article out on The New Republic titled : Aquacalypse Now that you should really check out to learn more about how we are killing off the ocean life and how that will affect us.  One major consequence is the explosion of algae blooms which is already affecting the quality of drinking water around the world.

NPR's Fresh Air has an interview posted on their site with the author of Aquacalypse Now, Daniel Pauly.  You can read/listen to his November 2nd interview here.

After I heard this interview and started rethinking my fish choice, I read an article on called 8 Sustainable Sources of Farmed Fish and Seafood

This article lists, like it says, 8 sustainable fish and types of seafood:
  1. Oysters
  2. Mussels
  3. Bay Scallops
  4. Trout
  5. Arctic Char
  6. Tilapia
  7. Catfish (my fav w/mac and cheese and some greens)
  8. Crayfish
Even these could have problems depending on how they are feed.  I have heard reports of farmed salmon being feed left over cow parts and an experiment where farmers are feeding salmon corn.  Salmon are meat eaters by nature- in case you didn't know.  If there are doing this to salmon, who knows how long until they start in on the 8 listed above.

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