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Which is better, wild-caught or farm-raised fish? The answer is both—there are pros and cons to each. While we might refer to them collectively as fish or seafood, multiple species, including crustaceans (shrimp) and bivalves (oysters, mussels, clams and scallops), can be considered either wild-caught or farm-raised.
Just like it sounds, wild-caught fishes are caught in their native habitat using nets, hand-lines, divers or traps. Wild-caught can be a healthier choice for a variety of reasons. They eat a natural diet in their native habitat which means they are potentially exposed to less man-made pollutants. The reverse side is that some fishes may contain more mercury and/or were not responsibly sourced. A logo to look for, when purchasing seafood, is the Marine Stewardship Council logo. Buying products with this logo ensures it was responsibly sourced.
Also known as aquaculture, fishes that are farmed don’t endanger wild populations—a great reason to choose them. But it can have drawbacks including crowded conditions, toxins, pesticides, antibiotics and parasites. Take heart though, when you see the Best Aquaculture Practices Certified logo, you know you’re getting responsibly farmed fish. BAP certifies the entire production chain: farms, feed mills, hatcheries and processing plants—so you can feel good about the seafood you’re serving your family!