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Are all sardines wild-caught?

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  • Are all sardines wild-caught?

    I can't find any info on it. Let me know because I plan on stocking up tomorrow, and I don't want to buy the expensive kind which brags about being wild-caught, because if they all are, what's the point... however most sardine brands don't give any info on whether they are wild-caught or not, and at the same time I can't find any evidence that they are farmed.
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  • #2
    I believe so. Ever see a bait ball? How do you farm that?

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    • #3
      I just googled "farmed sardines" and "sardine farm" and I got nothing. So good. Last time I paid 18$ for 6 cans of salmon, that's not happening again.
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      • #4
        i think they're all wild caught, but the taste of the pricier ones is no comparison. my girls will only eat the $3 cans of sardines from our local health food store. we tried the cheapies, YUCK! you'll see...
        Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that's bad for you! ~Tommy Smothers

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        • #5
          I only know of wild caught sardines and herring, used to be many plants in my home town but they all went out of business save a few small boutique plants recently opened. Kippered herring rocks!
          You'll never see the light if you're in someone else's shadow, or said another way, life is like a dog sled team, if you're not the lead dog, the scenery never changes

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          • #6
            I bought 8 tins of sardines today for 1.07$ each. They seem like a decent brand. It's called Brunswick and it's distributed by Bumblebee.

            I'm concerned about the omega 3's though. It says 1.0g per serving (93 grams), however, when I look up on nutrition date, the same amount (89 grams) comes up to 1.5g.

            Do O3 content vary among sardine brands?
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            • #7
              There's 20+ species marketed as sardines world wide. Most are pilchards, true sardines, but not all. Organic only refers to the ingredients other than fish, like mustard or olive oil. So any sardines packed in water should be very clean.

              Some of the best, like brisling, are not sardines, but sprats. These are very high in omega 3s and smaller than true sardines. Seek them on your tins. Norway, Poland, maybe Scotland is canning brisling. King Oscar is a good brand found in most grocers.

              There's another excellent species, not anchovies, marketed as sardines, but not a true sardine, and I forget the name atm. Anchovies are a completely different animal.

              Some herring is caught young and marketed as sardines. Omega 3s become more dense the older the fish and colder the water, making the young herring a bad choice if you have options like brisling. Some tins won't tell you though. They just say sardines and are allowed to get away with it. I can usually tell if it's herring after opening. This is typical of the rejuvenated American atlantic fishery. Even young herring is much higher in omega 3s than most fish and still very delicious. Some prefer it, so it isn't something to fuss about, unless you are adamant about a little more omega 3. Some canneries are canning sardines in fish oil. That's pretty cool, but you will pay for it.

              Sardines have seasonal food supplies and are at their fattiest in the late summer and autumn. So if your tin or can has packaging dates this is good information for deciding on a brand.

              If you live on the pacific coast (and probably any place with an active private salt water fishing community), a scoop of live bait is one of the best buys in the world of seafood. Depending on the location, current supply and needs of the commercial fishing boats, a scoop will cost between 15 and 30 bucks, run between 5 and 8 pounds; and provide LIVE sardines generally of a greater size for fresh grilling recipes. The heads are particularly delicious when cooked to a crunchy perfection. Sometimes I have to settle for live baby mackerel at the bait tanks. You'll find them very near the marine gas station in most harbors.

              If I can make the West LA meetup, my plan is to show up with a hundred or so live fish in a sterile 40 gallon trash can. Pilchard sashime; primal sushi; escabeche; stuffed with a puree of pistachio and gorgonzola, wrapped in pancetta rolled in a grape leaf, and grilled (Sardinian style sardines); Portuguese sardinas assadas... whew, the canned stuff cannot touch fresh sardines. I have to stop.

              simple recipe
              Last edited by Grol; 06-25-2010, 02:12 PM. Reason: link

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              • #8
                ". BRUNSWICK Sardines are juvenile North Atlantic herring that are 5 to 7 inches in length. "

                Found that on their website. Eh.. is this bad?
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                • #9
                  Those will taste great and provide lots of omega 3, just not as much as true pilchards or the sprats (brisling). I just noticed I have three varieties in my pantry and will do a taste test tonight. I have young herring from Maine, brisling from Norway, and true pilchards from California. I'll probably like the herring best. It seems the higher the 03s the less impressed I often am.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Grol View Post
                    Those will taste great and provide lots of omega 3, just not as much as true pilchards or the sprats (brisling). I just noticed I have three varieties in my pantry and will do a taste test tonight. I have young herring from Maine, brisling from Norway, and true pilchards from California. I'll probably like the herring best. It seems the higher the 03s the less impressed I often am.
                    They did taste great!

                    Is there any other commercial brand you'd care to recommend?
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                    • #11
                      I recommended King Oscar in the long post, but it isn't a strong recommendation. It's just about them only harvesting "the finest brisling from icy fjords" and my quest for mega omega 3s.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for all the info! I'm sure I saw King Oscar at the market today, but it was a bit expensive for the same amount of (advertised) omega 3, which is why I didn't get them.
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                        • #13
                          Can anyone answer the same question for mackerel?!
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                          • #14
                            I don't know if larger fast growing species of mackerel are being farmed yet, but I know a few breeds have been deemed feasible. The smaller ones who live like sardines in massive deep ocean schools, probably cannot be contained successfully for farming. With all the pressure on the world's fisheries mackerel and sardines are fed to salmon in farms to the tune of three pounds of fish meal for each pound of farmed salmon. Yet, somehow aquaculture has a huge backing right now for being the salvation of fisheries. Oy. Not so sure about that.

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                            • #15
                              On a slightly different tack, I discovered that canned mackerel is an amazingly LEAN fish! Cheap, too, $1.50 for a large can. I eat it with hot sauce.

                              While I do eat sardines and salmon often, capsules are just so much better in quantity of n3, and easy to get every day.

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