Organic fish – is there such thing?
In my previous blog post I have already discussed with my readers what “organic” really means. If you have missed this article, click here.
If we talk of organic chicken, it is easy! Organic chicken means that the chicken was fed with organic food (food grown without pesticides and other harmful substances), it was grown without antibiotics and growth hormones and had the relative freedom of movement.
What about fish? Can we really be sure that the fish we are eating is organic and if it can fit our organic food menu?
Let’s get into details.
The New Zealand and Alaskan wild salmon are the most expensive fish in the salmon market as they grow in the cleanest and pristine environment, far from the industrial pollution.
This is definitely the healthiest option we can find on the market, but as we don’t really control the fish environment and the food they eat, we can not label them as organic.
Fish dealers and farmers are trying hard to catch up with the organic market as it brings millions of profit. However, we can not call the farmed carnivorous fish “organic” because of one simple reason – they prey on small fish which may be not organic.
So in order to farm really organic fish, farms need to control the quality of water as well as the food supply as well. So in order to grow organic carnivorous fish, farmers will also need to grow organic small fish to feed the farmed carnivorous fish with. And it is a very complicated infrastructure!
Nowadays about 50 percents of the world’s consumed fish are grown in aquafarms. And most grown species are carnivorous. I have come across an interesting article about whether the carnivorous fish can be made vegetarian in order to fit the “organic” label.
Are there any fish farms (aquafarms) certified as organic?
In Europe there are strict rules which farms must meet in order to be considered organic. You can get more information on the regulations here.
The main organic aquafarms are located in the UK, Ireland, France, Greece and Germany.
In Europe the ECOFISH project develops a guide to help to conventional fish farms switch to organic ones.
However, USDA does not certify any organic aquaculture production at the moment. The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) is just in the process of creating standards of organic practice for aquaculture.
As we can see there is still much of improvement to be introduced so that we could have really organic fish on our tables.
Nevertheless, don’t be upset to discover that your fish oil supplements are not 100% organic. I personally go for brands which offer the fish oil from wild Alaskan salmon and krill oil from Antarctica as they are more ecologically safe. You can check the fish and krill oil supplements I recommend personally here.