Farmed Seafood: What’s Safe and Nutritious

Learning about the various types of aquaculture setups is interesting and useful, but we’re ultimately interested in whether they can produce safe, nutritious, affordable seafood. Wild seafood can be pricey, unavailable, and of questionable merit or sustainability. Certain wild species are definitely worth pursuing – Alaskan salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, to name a few – but there are environmental (overfishing, collateral damage to other important species, structural damage to the marine environment) and health (accumulation of heavy metals like lead and mercury, polychlorinated biphenyl/PCB, dioxin) issues that the conscious fish eater must stay abreast of. Healthy and safe farmed seafood, then, would be a welcome alternative, if it’s out there.

Okay. Let’s get down to it.

Which farmed seafood is safe to eat? Is there anything like grass-fed beef or pastured chicken available in scales or shells?


As a whole, farmed shellfish, when compared to wild shellfish, are very good bets for the simple fact that both lead very similar lives. Every marine shellfish, whether farmed or wild, spends its life in the ocean attached to something – rocks, a rope, a pillar, coral, the ocean floor. The only difference is that farmed shellfish are deliberately placed there by farmers, while wild shellfish are distributed by the hand of Poseidon (actually, the Nereids do all the work while he gets the credit, but such is the life of a sea nymph). Most importantly, they all use the same sea water. They all obtain their food by sifting through that same sea water. Farmers don’t have to provide food. They’re not scattering corn and soy across the water, because it would be a waste. Shellfish, you see, are filter feeders.

That brings me to the primary concern people have with shellfish, or mollusks. “Filter feeder” just sounds bad. When we hear the phrase, we think of physical filters, the type we use in everyday life, like an air filter in a car engine or a coffee filter. Physical filters accumulate the undesirable stuff and are either cleaned, tossed, or recycled. They certainly aren’t eaten. Well, shellfish aren’t physical filters. They process toxins. They render harmful compounds inert and expel them. It’s true that if they reside in waters rich in heavy metals and industrial contaminants (like PCB or dioxins), some of those metals and contaminants will show up in the meat, but that’s true for any sea creature. In fact, shellfish are some of the safest, least contaminated farmed seafood whenever they’re tested.

They’re also extremely nutritious. Shellfish are extremely rich in vitamins and minerals. Three measly ounces of raw Pacific oyster (the bulk of which are farmed) gets you over 100% of the RDA for zinc, copper, selenium, B12, and half of the RDA for iron. For every 1.5 g of omega-3 they provide, just 0.1 g of omega-6 comes along for the ride. Bay scallops are high in magnesium and selenium, clams are good for iron, copper, and selenium, abalone for selenium and magnesium, while the lowly sea snail gives massive amounts of magnesium (200 g of snail gives over 500 mg of magnesium; maybe they’re counting the shell?) and good amounts of selenium.

Lately, a favorite of mine has been the green-lipped mussel, shipped frozen from New Zealand. I initially got interested in this particular variety because of the research into green-lipped mussel extract as a canine arthritis treatment. Buddha isn’t arthritic, but I find this stuff fascinating. I’ve had some arthritis in the past, and it never hurts to cover all your bases ahead of time. Besides, mussels are delicious and nutritious. The NZ green-lipped mussel gets good marks from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, owing to its farmers’ sustainable practices: attach young mussels to ropes, lower the ropes into the ocean, and let nature take its course. I was also surprised to see the amount of omega-3s in these things. According to one study, 100 g of them (flesh only, no shells, frozen) comes with 1.5 g of DHA, 1.26 g of EPA, and not even half a gram of omega-6 fats.

Farmed shellfish are safe and just as nutritious as wild. If you’re worried about contamination, check the source and do some research. Always buy still living shellfish (dedicated seafood markets or Asian grocers are great places to buy live shellfish) where you can. If frozen is available, check the label and avoid imports from China, where waters are more likely to be heavily polluted.

American Catfish

The channel catfish is a bottom feeder, which sounds bad but doesn’t have to be. They’re just rapacious eaters, or foodies, even – a bit like hogs. If you feed them garbage and raise them in polluted waters (like occurs in Chinese catfish farms – check your labels!), you can’t really blame the species.

Farmed catfish is far fattier than wild catfish while being lower in omega-3s, but catfish has never been prized for its omega-3 content. While farmed catfish does have more omega-6 than wild – about 1.5g for every 100 g fillet, compared to around 0.22 g – most of the “added” fat in farmed is monounsaturated (5.7 g/100 g) and saturated (2.5 g/100 g) (PDF). Not too bad, especially if you compare it to something like conventional skin-on chicken thigh, which gives you 4 g saturated fat, 6 g monounsaturated fat, and 3 g omega-6s for a 100 g serving. US catfish farmers may not be feeding their fish pristine, natural diets of bottom-dwelling crustaceans, insects, and small fish, instead opting for combinations of meat and bonemeal, bloodmeal, fishmeal, various seedmeals, corn, soy, wheat byproducts, and vitamin/mineral supplements, but catfish seem to turn out decent fatty-acid profiles despite the departure from ancestral tradition (PDF).

Toxin-wise, catfish farmed in the US are subject to strict standards and, according to a 2008 study, has very low levels of methyl-mercury and industrial contaminants like PCBs and dioxins. You may want to avoid the abdominal fat deposits on farmed catfish, however, as they contained somewhat elevated levels of dioxins. (PDF) Other studies have shown conflicting results when comparing toxins levels in wild-caught and farm-raised US catfish, with some showing similar toxin levels (PDF) and others showing big disparities in favor of farm-raised. Either way, the toxins involved are at low enough concentrations not to cause worry, and they “appear to be dropping” in recent years.

If you like catfish, eat American farm-raised. It’s known for being a pretty bland fish (well known for deep frying in cornmeal batter and as a vehicle for sauces), but if it’s on the menu and you feel like fish… why not?

Tank-Farmed Freshwater Coho Salmon

Yes, that’s right. There is a decent farmed salmon: coho salmon raised in freshwater tanks. It’s not as magnificent as ruby-red firm-fleshed wild Alaskan sockeye, but it is low in omega-6s, fairly high in omega-3s, gets a “Best Choice” rating and makes “The Super Green List” (good for the environment, low in PCB and mercury, high in omega-3s) from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, and spends its life in carefully monitored freshwater tanks (as opposed to tightly packed coastal nets where metals and contaminants like dioxins and PCBs accumulate). The biggest health problems with farmed (Atlantic) salmon are the increased levels of omega-6 and the high levels of environmental and industrial contaminants. Freshwater farmed coho salmon avoids both. According to several sources, farmed coho salmon (and this is the regular, coastal farmed stuff, not the quality freshwater tank coho) sports a high omega-3:omega-6 ratio. A recent study (PDF) found that a 100 g portion of raw farmed coho contained 1.42 g omega-3 and just 0.46 g omega-6 (ratio of 3.1:1), compared to wild coho’s 0.9 g omega-3 and 0.06 g omega-6 (ratio of 14:1). The ratio is way different, sure, but does it really matter, given the paltry absolute amount of omega-6? If you look at the USDA database, 100 g of raw farmed coho has 1.3 g of omega-3 and 0.3 g omega-6. Any way you cut it, farmed coho is a good source of essential fatty acids, and I’d guess that freshwater tank-farmed coho salmon is just as good as conventionally farmed coho in that regard, if not better.

As of now, there are only a few freshwater, landlocked coho salmon farms in operation: Domsea Farms, out of Washington state, which sells coho to Whole Foods and other retailers under the SweetSpring label; and Swift Aquaculture, in British Columbia, which supplies upscale restaurants. More are surely coming, though, so be on the lookout for tank-raised (not coastal) coho in your area. You’ll still want to avoid other farmed salmon, of course.

US Rainbow Trout

Most rainbow trout eaten in the United States is also farmed there, and it’s one of the better choices. It may not be a sexy, exotic fish with intense flavors and high levels of omega-3s, but it’s a solid choice with a low environmental impact, minimal levels of contaminants, and a reasonable price. You can get it fresh pretty much anywhere and know, just by the “Farmed, USA” label, that it’s safe to eat.

More so than any other farmed fish I’ve come across, the fatty acid profile of farmed trout closely resembles that of wild trout. For example, a single 100 gram fillet of farmed rainbow trout has a gram of omega-3, 0.7 g of omega-6, 150% of the B12 RDA, and a decent amount of selenium. The same amount of wild trout is extremely similar nutritionally, with the main changes being 200 mg fewer omega-3s and 500 mg fewer omega-6s.

Farmed trout is very low in environmental contaminants. Methyl-mercury levels are well within the acceptable range (PDF). The same seems to hold true for Canadian trout, too.

US Barramundi

A tropical white fish, the barramundi is the “it” fish of the moment. It’s low in overall fat, offers about 840 mg of omega-3 per 5 ounce serving, requires less wild fishmeal than other carnivorous fish, is relatively free of contaminants, lives in freshwater tanks (at least in the United States) where it can’t affect wild ocean stocks, and Dr. Oz sings its praises (which almost makes me want to delete this section). Barramundi is okay, I guess, but it sounds rather uninteresting and bland. It’s also expensive, fetching over ten dollars a pound for frozen fillets at some markets.

Still skeptical? Listen to the barramundi evangelist talk about the fish on NPR for an unbiased perspective. No, but seriously – by all accounts, it’s a safe farmed seafood choice with nice levels of omega-3s, so give it a shot. Or, at least, don’t fear the barramundi.

American Crayfish

These are freshwater crustaceans and thus not seafood, but I spent many a summer catching them in New England, so I’m going to include them anyway. Crayfish are great, like tiny lobsters. Crayfish farming gets a clean bill from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and I like that crayfish farming often means setting the little mudbugs loose in a rice paddy or pond to feed on the local flora and fauna, enrich the local habitat, and breed like mad. Farmers will sometimes supplement with feed pellets, but not always. Not a lot of meat on them, but if fully cooked they can be entirely consumed, shell and all. If you’re too squeamish to do that, you should definitely suck out the sweet contents of the head and eat the tail.

Look – if Trapper Arne’s awesome 1990s-era website says that “crayfish is good eating,” I’m not going to argue. Stay away from imported crayfish from Asia, though; stick to farmed crayfish from the United States.

What say you? Have I gone mad? Is all farmed seafood poisonous and toxic? Have I left out your favorites? Let me hear about it.

TAGS:  big agra

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

89 thoughts on “Farmed Seafood: What’s Safe and Nutritious”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Would love to hear about tilapia. It is popular but i am curious about how it’s raised in farms?

      1. Me three! My fiance is from the Phillipines and loves it, so we eat a lot. It’s on the Primal approaved list but how good is it really?

        1. Tilapia is relatively benign in terms of enviro impact and farmed is ok in terms of eating. It’s got low levels of Omega 6, but it’s got low levels of Omega 3 (among the lowest among fish), but that’s because it’s very, very low in fat total. I eat it, but it’s kind of a blah fish with little flavor and little going for it nutritionally.

          1. There is some good protein (which is especially important for older people) and some minerals and B Vitamins as well.

    1. I’d like to hear this as well. What I’ve been told is that it’s not healthy due to polluted water… grains as food supply… that it’s to be avoided. However, I’m curious to see what he thinks of it as Tilapia farms are springing up everywhere.

      1. Tilapia does not taste like mud if the fish were properly purged in fresh water ith no added feed immediately prior to harvest.

  2. For anybody thinking about going entirely primal, wild crayfish should never be eaten raw or undercooked. You can get a particularly nasty parasitic worm (that causes paragonimiasis) if you do anything so silly!

  3. I love me some rainbow trout. They are also commonly seeded into many lakes around the country, so you can go out and catch your own, too!

    1. I am also VERY curious about shrimp. I want shrimp. And more shrimp. But, I am unable to locate wild shrimp. So, what about farm raised shrimp?

      Vital Choice is a decent source of wild shrimp but its TERRIBLY expensive.

      Mark please take notice. We want to know about farmed raised shrimp. Or could you point us to how any of us can buy wild shrimp for a decent price?

      1. I wonder if this community could support its own shrimp farm? I for one can put shrimp away like most people do chips.

        1. I always get organic, WWF certified prawns from my supermarket. Quite expensive but worth it 🙂

    2. In New England (Maine especially) and Maritime Canada we have a wonderful native shrimp available in December through ?…the season depends on the natural cycle, abundance and over fishing. This year the season was cut short by half…bummer. The shrimp are small but quite tasty, sweet.
      And they are fresh, caught in the morning and for sale off a truck on the side of the road by evening. Some catch their own in traps..I don’t as I have no boat in the water during the season.

  4. Thanks! That is really useful. I was surprised by both the catfish and the Barramundi. One question, though–is all farmed shrimp equally terrible? I usually avoid it, but if crayfish can be done sustainably, you’d expect there to be a clean shrimp farm out there somewhere.

  5. Crayfish are apparently also very sensitive to contaminants in the water. Apparently the simple presence of crayfish is an indication of a healthy body of water.

    Plus, they’re fun to catch. 🙂 You do need a lot, though.

  6. Awe this article comes five days too late!

    I was walking home from a bar Saturday night and some people at a totally random house party invited me to come in and eat crayfish. It was the weirdest thing ever! They had pounds of it just flown in that day so they wanted to share (plus they were drunk).

    I was thinking as I walked up to the massive pot, I wonder if Mark’s upcoming seafood post will have anything to say about crayfish…

    I had never eaten crayfish before. I wish I would have known to suck out the insides. What a terrible waste!

    For anybody wondering, those little things ARE a delicacy!

  7. Just realize that most, if not all, of the fish food is full of ingredients imported from China. A lot of the food itself is produced there, too. So, the fish who are given pellets might not have high levels of testable toxins, but may very well have tons of contamination. I used to work at a small aquaculture operation and I avoid farm raised fish for that reason. It pains me to do this because the fish are raised with great care and with concern for the environment, but until someone can offer proof that the food given to the fish is made in the USA, I will continue to avoid it. Someone else asked about Tilapia and farm raised Tilapia has incredibly high levels of arachadonic acid. A scientist could not even use the fish in a trial he was trying organize because it was deemed that the levels of aa were unsafe for consumption. Go figure!

  8. Thanks for this, very helpful. We’ve been swearing off all fish for a while now, and most recently since the radiation leaking from Japan. This was a great breakdown tho. Appreciate it!

    1. You really don’t have to do that. Unless you eat fish caught within a few miles of the reactors, there is no possible risk from eating seafood.

      The amount of radiation released is relatively small and the pacific is a very big. This was literally a drop in the ocean!

  9. I love this post Mark. Thanks a bunch. I have been very curious about some farmed raised seafood. You have said in general terms to always go with wild but I began to understand that this may not be true for all seafood.

    I love scallops and now know I am safe to buying the farmed raised type at Costco – sweet! I will be trying more shellfish in the future and am thrilled that I don’t have to worry about where it came from.

    As long as I am not eating at Taco Bell I know I will be safe.

  10. Great information! I haven’t been sad about having a death-inducing allergy to shellfish in awhile. The downside of this article is that I’m thinking: “Mmm… sounds tasty…” 😀

    I would be interested in hearing how Tilapia rates.

    1. I have had swai recently which I understand tastes kind of like tilapia but milder. I got it at a Walmart Supercenter. Not expensive.

  11. Great article, as always. Thanks Mark. Chuck, Talapia is heavily farmed and can only be raised in warmer climates. The fry (baby fish) are usually subjected to hormone treatment that will result in a sex change – make them all male, which grow faster and larger. This is a fish that is truly massed produced at a scale and conditions rivalling commercially raised chickens.

    On another side note – the US government recently approved the farming of genetically modified salmon! Salmon farms operate in areas that are subject to severe weather conditions and there is no guarantee that escapes can be 100% avoided. This could be devastating to wild stock. So far no mention that GM salmon would have to be labelled as such.

    This on the other hand is a fish farm story like no other:

  12. What about antibiotics in shrimp? I’ve heard that shrimp from Thailand (farmed) can be particularly scary.

    1. Never buy shrimp from Asia! Farm raised in vats of antibiotics…

      Gulf shrimp for life!

  13. Hey everyone, for those of you that have questions about specific species, follow the link Mark has in the article – Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. It’s good stuff…take a look. For example, many asked about shrimp. According to the website, farmed and wild-caught get best or good alternative votes, unless they come from Mexico or a couple of other places.

  14. An excellent post. It is always great to hear which foods may be worth avoiding.

    However, I work with the Bering Sea crab fisheries and would like to point out that they are also “shellfish.”

    While the species I work with live far to deep to be effectively farmed, there are shallow water crab species.

    I have no idea if anyone farms crab. However,since crab are certainly not sessile filter feeders, but carnivorous scavengers, without more information, I would be wary if I saw any farmed crab for sale.

  15. I am SOOOO glad Rainbow Trout was on the list! There is a local farm that raises grass fed cows, pigs, and lamb that also offers Rainbow Trout. We were trying to figure out if it was good since it’s “farmed” but I think this gives us the green light to go ahead and buy. =)

    1. I think that ultimately you have to make your own decision. If it’s local, and you see the conditions and can talk to the farmers about what they’re using for feed, etc. and are good with it, you get to make the decision. That’s the great thing about using local farms.

  16. Yes I too am interested in other shellfish since your “shellfish” section really focused on mollusks. And I too love me some “mudbugs” or as Katie pointed out “crawfish” to us from the South: Pinch me, peel me. eat me – Louisiana Crawfish!

  17. I love seafood!!!

    Been munching bass for the last 2 weeks in an attempt to empty my freezer for the upcoming farmer’s market meats…gah, I need a bigger freezer.

    Got another 50lbs or so of rainbow and golden trout, salmon and catfish in my freezer, someone come help!

  18. Southern girl here, as welll! Crawfish is the bomb! 🙂 I’ve always wondered how healthy the actual boil is…I have no idea what’s actually in it. Just know it’s spicy and tasty!

  19. What about the other types of Salmon? I saw an article.about an Isreali and New York companies counter suing eachother over technology for farming salt water Salmon in todays’s Albany Times Union. Is all salt water farmed Salmon bad?

  20. Also interested in farmed shrimp as I use it primarily as my lunch protein 🙂 I’m not sure if the salmon I eat is farmed, now I’m a little worried that I’ve been accumulating a lot of heavy metals in my system.

    Really tough to get good clean food these days and I don’t trust even half of the packaged food out there (smoked salmon)

  21. We grow lovely farmed salmon in NZ, both in the sea and in the canals connecting the hydro lakes. Farmed mussels are also a huge industry here… we had a feed of live ones last night.

    Remember, though, that salmon are carnivores and their food source in captivity draws heavily from rather inexpensive ($) krill caught in the Southern Pacific, in direct (and indirect) competion with fish, aquatic mammals and ocean going birds.

    It would be devilishly hard to calculate, but every farmed salmon or trout you eat, will diminish the health of Southern Oceans. Our choice.

  22. Unfortunately I am allergic to some such chemical used in farm-raising some fish and shrimp. Nastiness ensues. I stick to wild everything just to be safe. When I was a kid, I remember real catfish my dad caught as being the best fish ever. I bought some farm-raised a long time ago and it was really disappointing. And one more opinion: my husbands’ best friend has an issue with his neck (cartilage gone from between one vertabrae) and he swears his daily green lipped mussel supplement is what has helped the most for healing and pain relief.

  23. From the OP:

    “As a whole, farmed shellfish, when compared to wild shellfish, are very good bets for the simple fact that both lead very similar lives.”

    “Farmed shellfish are safe and just as nutritious as wild. If you’re worried about contamination, check the source and do some research.”

    I take this to mean that he’s including all shellfish in this blanket approval statement. Including shrimp.

    Come on folks, pay attention.

    1. He’s talking about mollusks like oysters, clams and mussels. He was not talking about crustaceans like shrimp and lobster. Crayfish are crustaceans but notice how careful he is about American farm raised and says stay away from Asian ones. Maybe we all need to pay more attention.

  24. Hi Mark. When it comes to farmed fish…I say no go. I live on the West Coast of British Columbia. Some of the finest fresh fish you will ever have. I have tried farmed fish…awe-full. It does not even have the same texture…soft, mushy, so not the way fish should taste. Now I have another query…back in the day when we could buy fresh, naturally harvested mussels I was in heaven. Since they have been farming them in BC and PEI…I swell up like a balloon if I eat them….this tells me stay away from farmed seafood of any kind. My body speaks, and I do listen! I invite you to the BC coast to taste wild Coho Salmon, and Wild Mussels…sorry to disagree, but there is absolutely no comparison in taste, flavor and texture…and for me, obviously side affects! Until you try the real, fresh stuff, you have not tried the real stuff!

  25. I’m not sold on this ‘farmed catfish’ thing. Many American catfish farmers (on the east/gulf coast) feed them dumptrucks of dog food from purina. I’m not really sure that is the best feed but will admit it’s better than china. does that mean I should eat them? In NC it’s too easy to get wild caught fish – no thanks.

  26. I wonder if any of this farming “business” has to do with the fish *allergy* I developed in my 20’s….I am of Portuguese descent and had fresh(and dried/salted) fish all through my childhood. In my mid 20’s I began reacting to fish, mild swelling of the tongue, lips, mouth and face..gradually worsening each time I indulged in fish. After one particularly bad reaction, I swigged some Benadryl, and asked my Dr why? why now? He said don’t eat fish, your body chemistry changes, here is an Epi pen script. I am now 38 and miss fish. 🙁

    I can eat shellfish til I think I will pop. No finfish. Tricky, because fake crab and lobster are made from Pollock (fish)so if I ask in a restaurant if the crab salad is real crab, I need a real answer…not a best guess.
    My point is (finally!) that there must be SOMETHING in the fish NOW that wasn’t there before. It’s not in my head..topical application will result in brutal hives, esp Salmon.

    While eating Paleoish has basically cured my lifetime of disfiguring eczema, I am always trying to incorporate more Omega 3’s..(no fish oil for me, although it is supposed to be ok) Lucky for me, I live in Southeastern New England.(think clamboils! Yum!).and can get lots of shellfish..My question is, can farmed shellfish from farther away be potentially better than what I can get fresh off the boats here? There are some contamination issues close to shore..but further out is “supposed” to be just fine.
    Hmmm..thoughts are appreciated…Thanks for the post Mark!

  27. Case in point 2 fish markets, 2 miles from each other. One sells Sea scallops at $12/lb..sweet and scrumptious. The other sells sea scallops at 8.99/lb. gross and indelibly salty, clearly treated with some preservative. Thanks anyway, I will take my delicious “dry” untreated scallops straight home and cook em up right away..sht..they are best barely cooked anyway!

    1. You’d be wise to treat anything on with great suspicion. It is a mixture of fact and fantasy.

      “Restrutured steak” products must be labelled as such in the USA (see

      That article makes also several impossible claims (virus-sized fungi that infect plants and animals, ha!) and overall looks like pseudoscience and tabloid journalism.

  28. As mentioned, the Monterey Bay Aquarium website has a great resource in deciding what seafood is environmentally healthy. It is not as simple as “this fish is good for the environment, this one is not” as generally it is the method of raising or catching the fish and the country of origin that makes the difference. My only complaint is sometimes it is impossible to find any info about where the seafood came from and how it is raised on the packaging…but I always check the Monterey Bay Aquarium listing before purchasing fish or other seafood now.

  29. Walmart sells bags of frozen Tilapia fillets from Hawaii that include Carbon Monoxide(yikes!) as an ingedient, so I don’t touch those. What the freak? Am not a big fish fan yet but am trying to learn to like it more. Gonna try buffalo sauce on sardines!

  30. Walmart sells bags of frozen Tilapia fillets from Hawaii that include Carbon Monoxide(yikes!) as an ingedient, so I don’t touch those. What the freak? Am not a big fish fan yet but am trying to learn to like it more. Gonna try sardines in buffalo sauce! I do love raw oysters so was happy to get the go ahead on those, thanks.

  31. I definitely think there needs to be a continuation to part 2 about this. 🙂

  32. This post is very interesting indeed. I agree that the “farmed” bivalves are a good choice because they are grown in natural habitat eating the same things that the wild ones do. But the farm raised fin-fish are definitely questionable. The finfish are given soy, wheat, corn, supplements, etc… I’m not convinced that they are good. BUT, I know the wild stocks are in danger of being overfished. It’s truely are fine line we are walking. What to do?!

  33. Hmmm. Interesting post Mark. I am feeling very eeek about wild fish myself lately due to concerns about contamination and I had previously thought the farm raised fish were perhaps not as nutritious but now I see that may not be true.

    I have read a few articles about the problems with pollution from fish farms being generated by all the fish poop as well as farmed fish who escape their pens wreaking havoc on the wild species. Eating sure is getting to be a complicated issue.

    A couple of people asked about shrimp, Food and Water Watch has done a rather lengthy article here on farmed shrimp, they suggest sticking to domestic varieties.

  34. Traditionally, monks used to raise carp for food in ponds. I have heard that they don’t have a great taste, but it gets better if you put them in a separate fresh water tank without food for a few days to clear out their systems.

    1. They have a vein that runs through their meat that the old timers around the Kaskaskia River in Illinois referred to as a “mud vein”. If you cut it out, carp is just like catfish: white, flaky and devoid of much flavor.

      The nuisance fish gar are also edible, but they require a more nuanced method of cleaning, or they are too foul to stomach.
      Basically, they also have the “mud vein” and they MUST be drained of ALL blood ASAP when cleaning them. Oven roasted, they are also quite tasty.

  35. I do have a minor point of contention about your catfish description. The channel, blue and flathead catfish are most definitely NOT bottom feeders. They are predatory in the same way as the bass and perch family. They will occassionally scavenge for food if hungry, but by and large they eat live prey.

    The varieties of bullheads (brown, black and yellow) are far more accurately described as bottom feeders.

  36. Do you plant them head up or head down? And how do you fertilize them? lol!

    Couldn’t resist..Old Texas Aggie joke.. the answer is send soil sample.

  37. I don’t know if they are still up and running but we have had pond-raised shrimp from the grower in this link. They can grow 7-count shrimp in a single season. I personally can’t tell the difference in flavor and at the time we were there they were selling them individually blast-frozen so they were easy to handle.

    We knew Coddington personally. His background was as an aquaculturist at Auburn University and he has traveled around the world teaching/learning technique.

  38. This is really great news! My family and I are big seafood consumers and searching for wild all the time has really become difficult and costly. Good to know there are still decent farmed alternatives 🙂

    Not directly related, but what about the quality of frog legs, squid, octopus, quail imported from overseas? In my local Asian market there is a lot of exotic meats but as always I worry about the conditions they’re raised, plus contamination…

  39. I totally have to disagree with the statement that Barramundi is bland. Chargrilled with even a basical lemon and EVOO rub, Barramundi is delicious. When rubbed with a more interesting or primal rub, it turns into something out of this world. I live in Australia so the freshness of the fish may have something to do with it, but out here you cant go into a restaurant without seeing a Barra dish.

  40. I was under the impression that farm raised fish is usually bad for the environment. I thought it takes more to grow the fish than the fish can give back.??

  41. Just found your website and love all the information you provide about fish! Have you ever heard of Clean Fish? I recently bought some from the plum market in ann arbor mi and thought it was a little fatty but I would be interested in your opinion of this company.

  42. Green lipped mussels are delicious, they are cheap and fresh at our supermarket every day.

    You might be interested in this post I have just done – charts of omega 3 and 6 in oils, fats, meat and seafood.

    ********i have to add. yeah i like them too. sadly the farming also has a big eco effect. and even kills mamals like smal whales. This report of Mark is to positive and the negative effects are too much on health facts. From Germany i can suggest either its labelled certified organic or be very cautious on everything. The chemicals used in seafarms are really harmful weather makr like it or not, and toxic effects shows over decades. So also if people go well on this farmed toxic fish and seafood over decade they can develope miscariages and illnes.

    For Animals farms and also for animal fishfarm look how the fish is raised. Dont go for data. Dont go for science. Go for how it looks. If it looks animal friendly environmental ok. Its probably good. The safest thing is fresh. go to the producer go to the farmer and if they wanna hide something or come up with too much scinctificfacts its probably something stinky and mold.

    If you avoid all antibiotics in your normal diet, be sure to get them in normal farmed seafood. Thats sure.

  43. Dont trust marks words. In my experience this topic is more complex. scientific research is bought by fish farm companies. This is a hard topic to get a clue on. Have look how the fish is produced. And what are the effects on the ecosystems and on wildlife. Any other data can be fake. Only dead animals or dying plants or stinky water are real indicators for not working or for working farms. Beside i suggest look for certified organic farms. That is a rather safe choice. And that is defintly true.

  44. One big eco problem with fish farming is: The farmed fish needs food and this is made by small fishes and fish waste. Which are caught in often worse conditions. This threaten the wildlife diversity and the ecosystem.

    The food of the farmed fish is usually fish. This fish is often caught in big scale so it wipes out whole ecosystems. There are different ecoviews on fish farming. Only very rare are ecofriendly. This one try hard to be ecofriendly. Just think on stinking water places where fish is swimming close to each and foam is there from food chemicals and antibiotics. Pangasius(noz organic) is one of the worst conditions. You will surive it. Pangasius taste mold and the fish swimms in mold water. the companies in asia try to hide it.

    Do you not think they wanna test all the chemicals they develope over the years. yeah they wannt and they do it on animals. It more than meat and protein, its a living being and feel good in healthy wildlife.

  45. I’m so glad I live in New Zealand. Some of the best seafood ever!

  46. The biggest problem I have with farm raised fish, is man’s greed again into farming for maximum profits. While they throw the guise of it being “more natural and healthy” and better for the environment, this, for the most part, couldn’t be further from the truth. In order to feed so many of these “farm raised fish”, the are raping the oceans of the natural bait fish and food for the wild fish. They fatten them up as quickly as possible, and therefore the farmed fish are eating many many more tons of wild caught bait-fish than there natural or wild counterparts would. Thus the environmental impacts are quite substantial. Please do your homework and then read the labels and don’t support these particular types of farms.

  47. I’m very late to this post but just wanted to add that Walter Crinnion, N.D., who has made environmental toxins his specialty, says tilapia and trout are the 2 farmed-raised fish that are consistently low in toxins (mercury, PCB, etc). Sardines, even when fished, are very high in PCBS as are catfish, even American farmed. (, but info came from 2012 workshop)

  48. Beauty products were always there in life even when they were not produced commercially. Organic or natural beauty ingredient with homemade recipes are best care for entire body including face care, eye care, nails care, lip care or hand and foot care.  For more visit – Homemade Beauty Recipes

  49. can someone tell me what the cleanest, healthiest and least toxic fish to eat and how much can I consume per week?

  50. I think that the future of fish farming is Plant-Based Feed in onshore tanks. A lot of the pollutants in farmed fish comes from the feed, and plant-based feed is lower in pollutants than the fishmeal used today. Let the fish go Vegan so we don’t have to.

  51. Hello,
    For those of you looking for wild-caught shrimp, I find it at Trader Joe’s and sometimes at Costco. I avoid the farm-raised from Thailand and other farm-raised shrimp as well.