Due October 27 by 11:59pm

Now that you have finished reading Four Fish it is time to reflect on and apply some of its messages.

Imagine you are talking to your grandmother who lives in the middle of the United States and shops at a relatively high-end grocery store that has an extensive ‘seafood counter’ with options from around the world and across the trophic scale (i.e., from mussels to marlin).

Your grandmother is a conscious consumer and wants to make healthy and environmentally informed choices for what she buys. What would you say about what you have learned about seafood in FISH 110, including your reading of Four Fish, that helps your grandma make an informed purchase? For example, consider her options of buying  wild or farmed fish? Seafood from the USA or from overseas? High trophic levels or closer to the base of food webs?  

Respond to your grandma (and the class) with at least 250 words by 11:59pm on October 27 and as usual, respond to at least two of your fellow students’ posts by 11:59pm on the 28th.


54 thoughts on “Due October 27 by 11:59pm”

  1. Don’t buy farmed fish. This method of harvest groups the fish into tight conditions that promote the spread of diseases and parasites. This problem not only affects the farmed fish but also the wild fish that pass their pens. The wild fish contract the diseases and pick up the parasites which causes harm to their populations. There is also the issue of waste from the feces of the farmed fish. It is simply allowed to enter the water supply outside of the pens and collect without any form of treatment. The waste leads to an excessive abundance of nutrients, which is associated with eutrophication and algal blooms. The major issue with farmed fish is that other wild fish are caught and procced into food pellets in order to meet the needs of the farmed fish. This process is depleting wild populations that can serve as a more sustainable food source.

    Buy fish caught in the USA. There is no reason to use fuel to transport fish across the ocean for consumption. Transportation uses up the relatively limited resource of fossil fuels and releases unnecessary amounts of greenhouse gasses into the environment. The fish in other countries should be used to feed the people of those countries instead of being transported halfway around the globe. Not to mention it is better to support American businesses instead of foreign corporations.

    Try to buy seafood that is at lower trophic levels. The energy provided by lower trophic fish is greater than the energy provided by higher trophic fish. By using higher energy foods, less needs to be bought and this saves money.

    1. I really like how you brought up that farmed salmon are also hurting the wild populations. I looked at it from the perspective that fishing wild stocks isn’t very sustainable and we should relieve the pressure on them, but it is important to recognize that fisheries do have negative impacts on wild stock as well. It seems like we just have to pick the lesser of two evils, and a good argument can be made for both.

    2. I think you have some really great ideas about the negative impacts of farmed fish, especially using wild fish to feed them. Some farmed fisheries are trying to turn to vegetarian pellets I think, but on the whole you’re right, there are a lot of issues with farmed fish. I also like your point about using up fuel to import fish, as that’s just another reason why buying locally is more sustainable. I agree with you also that buying seafood at lower trophic levels is more sustainable as they carry more energy, and not thinning out the small populations at the top of food chains is something we should really be working on.

    3. I like how you started off with “don’t buy farmed fish” because it’s true! Especially fish that comes from the other side of the world. So much money goes into bringing fish in, and maybe in triple the amount of money goes into bringing produce from across the world. I agree with you on the lower trophic level aspect of things as well.

    4. The waste issue with farmed fish has always bothered me. I wish there was some way to keep the areas around their pens clean. Certainly, fish farms are looking into ways to appropriately treat the waters surrounding them, right? I hope so. Excellent point about wasting petroleum to transport fish across the ocean! Not to mention, it’s an added cost and creates hazards for the environment. Good point regarding the trophic levels of the fish and the use of energy. Nice job!

    5. nice perspective on how wild fish could pick up diseases from the farmed fish pens! when I was reading through the book I didn’t even think about how wild fish could be effected by farmed fish at all!

  2. I think that I would tell my grandma to buy seafood from the USA, normally from the base of food webs, and discuss with her the benefits of both wild and farmed fish. Buying fish from the USA ensures that we are supporting decent fishing regulations as well as supporting local fisheries. This means that we aren’t stealing fish from other countries when we have plenty here. A lot of USA-based fisheries have to follow strict regulations, and buying local fish means that we are supporting those regulations and ensuring that we are buying from sustainable fisheries. In addition to that, buying fish or seafood from lower trophic levels means that we are eating from a larger population, as there are often many more lower trophic level animals that contain more energy, as they have undergone less trophic transfers and have a larger percentage of energy that originally came from the sun. There’s a larger population to skim off the top, and we acquire more energy by eating those fish. If we eat only from the higher trophic levels, we can quickly decrease those smaller populations and remove predators that impact the rest of the food chain, causing a trophic cascade. I would also discuss with my grandma the benefits of wild and farmed fish. Buying wild fish is beneficial for our health as well as not supporting the more irresponsible fish farms, from which escapes can be really detrimental to already existing ecosystems. However, if everyone in the world only buys wild fish, we will run the ocean dry, so I would encourage my grandma to buy from fish farms that have good animal welfare and don’t have common escapes. Some fish farms are better with their animals and have less of an impact on the ecosystem, and I would encourage her to buy from those. If the only farmed fish available was from farms that damage the ecosystem around them and have bad fish welfare, however, I would tell her to stick to wild fish.

    1. I think it’s good that you recognize the benefits and costs of both farmed and wild fish, and it makes it hard to come to a concrete decision. I agree that farmed fish can be better because it takes the pressure off of wild stocks, but it is important to recognize that they are not a cure-all and there are limits to how much we can trust them and the fish that they breed.

    2. I like how you brought up ” Buying fish from the USA ensures that we are supporting decent fishing regulations as well as supporting local fisheries. “

    3. I love that the US has strict guidelines and regulations for marketing fish. I wish other countries did, as well. Although, I imagine that might create an even larger black market for certain varieties of fish. I like how you mentioned the population sizes of the different trophic levels. I sort of said that, but with different wording. I like your words better : ) I’m glad you explained that not all fish farms are a mess. You’re right, some of them do a better job of maintaining the quality of the fish and their environment, so definitely a factor to consider.

    4. Rachel, I agree that buying from the US ensures that the fish are caught and harvested in a safe way. It is scary to think of the lack of regulations in some countries, though it is hard to blame them with the lack of funding to their, or lack there of, fish & game.

    5. Rachel, I agree that it would put too much strain on wild fish populations if everybody only bought and caught wild without any farmed fish. I think we could find a healthy balance with the right legislation and regulation.

    6. Hi Rachel,
      I like how you mention buying from more sustainable farms to offset the demand for the wild fish. I believe that some form of balance needs to be made so that we can keep the environment in one piece while still meeting the needs of people.

  3. After what I have learned from this class, I would recommend that she buy farmed fish, so long as she knows where it is coming from and it is from a fishery that is humane. While there are negatives about buying farm fish and wild salmon would be healthier, it is important to take the pressure off of the wild stocks. Salmon are fished a lot as it is, and they need the best opportunity to recover from overfishing in certain populations and regrow their numbers. There are certainly fish farms that are inhumane and should not be supported, which is why I think it’s essential that she knows where the fish are coming from and that they are from a fishery that is healthy and worthy of support. Ultimately I think the most important part of buying farmed fish is that you know where it is coming from and that the fisheries you support are healthy and don’t damage the ecosystem. However, I wouldn’t actively discourage her from buying wild salmon so long as she knows that it is coming from a large population that is being fished in a sustainable manner.
    I would also recommend that she get farmed fish from the United States rather than overseas. US fisheries have a lot of rules and regulations that they have to follow, and that is not always true for other countries. Buying from the United States is a good way to guarantee that you know the policies that were in place as the fishery and the work that was done to take care of the salmon. It also is important to support local economies, as well as work to decrease support for large scale shipping and transportation, as that adds a lot of pollution to the environment. Lastly, it’s better to buy from lower trophic levels on the food web for multiple reasons. One, the fewer trophic transfers means the more energy that you get for what you eat. Since only 10% of energy is passed from one trophic level to the next, it is healthier to eat fish that have more energy to pass on to you when it is consumed. This low energy efficiency also means that more animals can be sustained at lower trophic levels, while there are fewer at higher levels. Therefore, it is more sustainable to get fish from the larger lower levels than it is to remove fish from the already smaller populations at higher trophic levels. Ultimately I think the most important part of buying farmed fish is that you know where it is coming from and that the fisheries you support are healthy and don’t damage the ecosystem.

    1. I think you have some great commentary on the balance between eating wild fish and farmed fish, as both have benefits and disadvantages. Eating wild fish from sustainable fisheries is a good idea, and eating farmed fish from a farm with good ethics and welfare can also be a good idea. It’s when the fisheries don’t manage their fish well that our choices can be supporting bad sources. I agree with you that we should be eating seafood from lower trophic levels and from local fisheries! There are a lot of benefits to shopping smart when it comes to seafood.

    2. I was thinking to not buy farmed fish so it is interesting to see a different side of things and I almost agree with you. If there is a fish farm that is doing things correctly and taking care of the fish then I guess why wouldn’t you buy from them? My only concern is that so much money is put into farming fish when we could put that money into our own wildlife. Good perspective! I also agreed on fishing at lower trophic levels. Great post!

    3. There really are some fish farms that take pride in their product and strive to maintain the quality of the surrounding environment / ecosystem. That is something important to consider, so I’m glad you addressed it. I hope more fish farms start to follow that path. I also agree with your comment about decreasing large scale shipping and transportation. The added costs and pollution to the environment are completely unnecessary, especially since we have perfectly good fish available in the US. Save the exporting for countries that don’t have easy access to wild or farmed fish! Nice job : )

    4. Samantha, it is interesting to hear a different stance on the issue. It’s always easy to push people towards wild stock, but I do think you’re right about farmed stock taking the pressure off of wild stock. I don’t believe wild stock alone could put up with our high demand- anywhere.

  4. I would tell my grandmother that the best way to help the environment is precisely that, being a well informed conscious consumer. Before reading “Four Fish” by Paul Greenberg I would have said with hundred percent certainty, never buy farmed fish. It is disgusting. I would have said with my bias aside, being in a commercial fishing family. The flesh is artificially colored, they contract disease and have been known to escape their holding pens, thus contaminating wild fish with their disease and breeding with wild stock ruining wild runs. Although there are other factors to consider for the big picture of human consumption rates. The truth remains, wild fish do not solely exist to become our food nor can they sustain the billions of peoples on the planet. Some species of fish adapt easier to farm style environments than others. In addition it is important to consider the overall cost for raising these fish and the safety risk involved in the raising of fish. In the book Greenberg talks about the bluefin tuna, a sought after sushi fish in Japan. Since the bluefin is endangered they have an incredibly high price point. This is an example of a fish that can not support the demand. As a conscious consumer you can choose to not consume bluefin and add to the problem. People have tried to farm the bluefin but it does not adapt well where as a tilapia is a perfect fish suited for farming. I think my favorite thing Greenberg left me to think about was government subsidization for farm more expensive fish, yet adaptable. Salmon was the species he suggested yet I think the beauty most see with farmed fish is the low price, this would raise the price. It makes you think though, if we gave wild stocks time to recover by only eating farmed would we better off?

    1. I love that you mentioned “wild fish do not solely exist to become our food nor can they sustain the billions of peoples on the plant.” Excellent point. Where wild fish are healthier to eat, farmed fish do serve a purpose, especially for the large populations of landlocked countries that don’t have easy access to wild caught fish. I also really like that you pointed out Greenberg’s thoughts on subsidization for farming more expensive fish, and ones that can adapt easily. Well said!

    2. Hi Madelyn,
      I like how you talked about other species that are better suited for farm living. I hadn’t thought about that for some reason. If we know that other species are better for that environment maybe we should stop farming salmon and do another species that would be better and then it could still provide a great food source for many people. Great post!!

  5. Hi Grandma! I love that you are wanting to make an informed decision regarding what types of fish you should be consuming! There are so many options on the market, today, and I think it’s important you understand what each of them entails. A good starting point is knowing the difference between wild and farmed fish. Farmed fish are exactly as labeled. They are reared in pens in the same manner farm animals are raised. Most farmed fish are fed “fishmeal” that consists of ground vegetable ingredients and other marine fish, but may also include hormone supplements and antibiotics. In addition, some fish farms use pesticides to reduce fish related diseases and viruses. Wild fish, on the other hand, have a less likely chance of contracting a disease or virus because they are not contained in a pen, and their diets consist of natural feed from the ocean. If I had to choose between eating wild fish caught in the US or from overseas, I would probably choose wild fish caught in the US, mainly because the inspection standards in other countries are not as high as they are here. Another reason I would choose to purchase fish obtained in the US is because a very high number of fish are actually caught by American fishermen, exported overseas, then reimported back into the US. Not to mention, I also believe it’s important to support our local economies, but that’s just a personal choice : ) One final “food for thought”… if you are wondering what species of fish to purchase, this information might help. While some of the larger species of fish are more desirable and sought after, they are also at a higher risk for becoming endangered. Bluefin tuna, for example, have a much lower reproduction rate and take longer to mature, whereas species such as salmon, bass, or cod can reproduce at a faster rate and in higher numbers. Hope all this helps!

    1. Like the supplements and fish feeding that is used. Just like on deer farms, those feeds can impact the quality of taste on wild game. Like many others posted, I agree with the US being self reliant and utilizing our resources to support our nation and stop getting ripped off by overseas trade. Although trade is important, I just think we’ve been getting taken advantage of too much in the past.

    2. i like that you went heavy on how the farmed fish are affected by pesticides and that they have a very different diet from wild fish. after i finished this assignment, i literally had a conversation with my grandma about farmed vs wild fish, and i mentioned both of those points and it definitely made her think about farmed fish diffrently.

    3. Hi Zosha,
      I love the enthusiasm that you put into your post. I think that it is interesting that you brought up how many fish are caught in the US, shipped elsewhere, then shipped back. I wonder why that is, because it seems like just adding an unnecessary step.

  6. I would tell my grandma to eat fish that wild fish would be beneficial rather than farmed fish. With farmed fish all the risk between diseases and parasites giving no benefit towards you. Farm fish is restricted to the area of which is grows, with the diet of food pellets that were made from wild fish it to meet the serious demands of the market. It makes the fish fattier and could also even affect the taste of a fish that you believe to be a succulent dish. Whereas wild fish would be leaner with an abundance of room and many different types of food to eat.
    I would definitely tell me grandma to buy local fish. With supporting the local fisheries, you know for a fact that all fish that come from the harbor would be wild caught. Rules and regulations are there to protect the fish population from hopefully dying out, so there would be no need to buy it anywhere else. Plus, buying from your local fisheries you know your money is being recycled into your own economy. The time it takes different countries to catch, process, transport, and sell their fish you could have already eaten your fill and still have some left over.
    You should eat fish that are in a lower trophic level and eat the higher ones in moderation. There are higher quantities of fish in the lower trophic levels than there are in higher ones, it just common sense. Look at it from a food pyramid point of view; you would have to eat more of the same resources to obtain the same amount of energy as you would in the lower levels.

    1. I think it’s crazy how much fish grind is needed for the pellets. I don’t know what it’s actually called, but I’m talking about the raw fish materials that go into the pellets. It almost seems like there should be farms that produce the feed needed for the pellets, rather than taking it from the oceans and rivers. Or, maybe there already are? Your food pyramid example is a good visual. It helps one to see the vast consumption it takes to produce fish at the higher trophic levels. Good job!

  7. If my grandma were asking me advice about how to buy and eat ethically produced seafood here’s what I would say. First, id advise her to eat wild caught fish for the most part. Farmed fish, for the most part, are environmentally destructive in multiple ways. They cause large amounts of pollution, can spread diseases to wild populations, and are inefficient due to the trophic level of commonly farmed fish. However, some farmed fish are just as environmentally safe and sustainable as wild fish, for example Norwegian farmed Atlantic salmon. On the note of trophic levels, I would advise her to consume more lower trophic level fish, especially if its farmed. Third, I would encourage the consumption of farmed shellfish, as the industry has a lower impact than many other farmed seafood and wild fisheries and is extremely sustainable.

    However, not all wild fisheries are sustainable, so I would advise grandma to investigate the kinds of fish she wants to buy. For example, a fish labelled as “cod” in the store may or may not be sustainable. If it comes from Newfoundland, it is an extremely unsustainable fishery and I would tell grandma to avoid it. However pacific and Greenland Cod are much more sustainable fisheries and can be purchased and consumed with little worry. Alaska Pollock is another sustainable fishery that can be consumed confidently. Overall, I would advise grandma to generally eat wild over farmed fish but farmed over wild shellfish. On top of this I would advise her to generally stick to lower trophic level species. However, I would stress the importance of investigating the source of all of the seafood that she would wish to buy as companies sometimes intentionally or unintentionally mislabel seafood making it hard for consumers to make informed choices.

  8. Hey Grandma, I know you shop at the supermarket for fish but do you know where your fish actually comes from?  I know you eat salmon a lot, but are you sure its even good for you?  Most of the salmon sold in grocery stores isn’t even caught wildly, it’s farmed. And if you’re eating farmed salmon grandma, it’s not the best decision. Salmon farming started at an experimental stage in the 1960’s, and became an actual industry in Norway in the 1980’s. All in order to modify and create a system  to grow bigger fish, at a faster rate. Norway is considered to be the world’s largest producing salmon country, as far as fish farms go. It has extended not only to the United states, but also in Canada, Scotland, and Chile. Consuming these domesticated salmon is not the most beneficial decision, only because it threatens the native species in many ways, on top of our own species as humans. Although the domesticated salmon can outperform the native salmon for a short time, in the long haul they don’t sustain the energy they need to travel up river. While millions of farmed salmon escape every year, they can bring disease which is detrimental to the native salmon. The consumption of farmed salmon can also pose internal issues with humans from pollutants that can increase antibiotic resistance in our gut, along with parasites. The people running these farms are making killing off of these fish farms not only to wipe out existing salmon, but they are also potentially killing us as well. Please do your research grandma, before heading back into the supermarket okay?

    1. Shelby, I didn’t know the history of farmed fish, that was an interesting tidbit. I also didn’t know that consumption of farmed salmon can cause health issues. Thanks for educating 🙂

  9. If my Grandmother was asking me if she should purchase farmed fish or wild fish, I would tell her, without a second thought, to purchase wild fish from the USA. The main reason for my answer is that we need to support what the USA has to offer in regard to home grown food and USA made products. We need to think about where our money is going and what we are getting for our pennies versus giving our money to outside of the USA to get fish and/or food that is not quality produce because it has to fly across the pond to get to the USA and by then, you are not getting fresh fish.

    The benefit of purchasing wild fish versus farmed is simply the taste and quality of the food. With farmed fish, we are not letting the authentic taste of the wild in with our fish and it hinders the quality and size of the fish as well. We spend thousands of dollars feeding the farmed fish when we should spend that money on sustaining the wild fish we have that is better for our bodies. I would tell my Grandmother she should purchase fish in a lower trophic level because they have more resilience when it comes to repopulating. In the higher trophic levels, there is a constant fight for food, and they can’t reproduce as easily. The energy stored in the lower trophic levels is stronger because it hasn’t transferred too far up the food chain so you’re getting higher quality fish for their energy.

  10. Hi Grandma,
    I know with all of your choices you are confused on what to buy, well I learned about all of this in my Fish 110 class and I can help you pick. Basically they way I see it is that you shop for fish the same way you shop for chicken, everyone knows that free range chicken tastes the best well wild fish taste better too. The rules also have exceptions, like for eggs farm fresh is the best, same with fish like trout, and other high demand fish. I know that it seems a little odd to compare shopping for fish to chicken but they have more in common than you would think. I hope I helped grandma!

  11. Hey Grannie,
    Do you want the freshest seafood your hard earned money can buy? Do you want to show support to your local farmer’s market or co-op? If you’re in the Seattle area, hit up the infamous Pike’s market as it holds a wide variety of wild seafood. There is a high global market demands that continue to rise with as does the human population. People are becoming more educated through some simple research. The curiosity of the products consumed have drawn second looks at the ingredients from the buyer. If you want salmon from the market, well it may have originated in Norway, Chile, or the U.K. as they are some of the top producers of the Atlantic Salmon.
    I’d recommend a company similar to the Wild Alaskan Seafood Box company based out of Bozeman, MT. Made in the USA! This business, among others create a direct line of communication with the small independent fishermen. This system was designed to be processed and shipped immediately following the catch. This provides the consumer to not only fresh wild seafood, but where that product came from. There are groups, co-ops, and stewardships that seek out sustainable fisheries and utilize their resources conservatively to provide an abundance of fresh wild seafood straight to your home or business.
    Growing salmon in pens can be linked back to the National Marine Fisheries Service in 1969 in Manchester, WA. There are currently two net pens in the state of Washington and in 2017, Cypress Island pens had over 250,000 Atlantic salmon escape and were introduced to the wild waters. I can imagine this created excitement for the recreational fishing, too bad I wasn’t there for that combat fishing event. This incident launched a process to phase out the nonnative finfish farming by 2022.
    There are concerns about the disease spreading and the effects on native fauna and ecosystems. The use of chemicals from medications or metals such as copper and zinc(fish feed) from the pens structure can be introduced into the system. State and Federal regulation and doctrine forces detailed permits for aquaculture operations. Farmed seafood makes a convenient food supply available across the globe. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry that will never go away. Food security will be always be on the table for the decision makers. The Aquaculture Stewardship Council is held to the standards by the UN FAO. If the guidelines and standards have gaps in them, maybe we should be looking directly at the ones creating the policy(UN) Holding Cooke Aquaculture accountable for their failed operation has help shed some positive outlook on farming. Enforcing strict regulation and zero failure policy is an effective approach to simply say, if you cannot abide by the law, then you will be terminated!

    1. Matt,

      I really like how you brought up the Wild Alaskan Seafood Box company. What a great way to truly support our country’s small independent fisherman and not a giant distributor middle man. I think this idea is truly a wonderful solution, especially for grannie living in middle America.

      Great job!

    2. Matt, you provided grannie some great information. The Wild Alaskan Seafood Box company based out of Montana sounds like the way to go and a much better way to get sustainable seafood than having to go to the grocery store. Pike’s Place Market is an absolute must when in Seattle. I originally learned about it when working in the hospital, and it was used as an example in communication.

  12. I don’t know about everyone else’s grannies but mine was on a tight budget and though I know she would have loved wild caught, it came down to price. Sure in a perfect world who wouldn’t love fresh wild caught fish!! However, price point is a strong argument in farmed versus wild. Wild King salmon at 35 bucks a pound, compared to the 13 dollars a pound for farmed raised Atlantic salmon, guess what I pick? Now it becomes a matter of is the farmed fished you are buying raised in such a way to mitigate threat to wild populations?

    A look at my local seafood counter, we have a lot of options for both USA wild caught and USA farm raised. There is even some farm and wild from Mexico, Columbia, Chile, and Canada. Being an informed consumer I think can be overwhelming, especially for an old woman living in a world more connected than ever. I would advise my grandma to look for items lower on the trophic levels as they can be less expensive (mussels and cleanse) and they are more energy efficient. If she wanted to splurge and get something more “meaty” I would advise her to check out Seafood Watch. I am sure that is has its downfalls and things are debatable but for an old woman just wanting to buy dinner, I think it is a great choice. Their color coded system could help my grandma make an informed choice by knowing what fish are caught or farmed responsibly and what species to avoid and from what counties. Countries that may not have the highest standards.

    In the argument of wild versus farmed, I think it will be about compromise. Human population is continually growing and as we saw in class today the ocean can only give us so much, enter aquaculture. Aquaculture has been around longer than I ever imagined and has become a source that humans rely on for fish protein but it needs to be done in a way to limit risks to wild populations. In short grandma, the choice is yours, just make sure it is an informed one.

    1. Hi Amanda
      I had to check out your recommendation of Seafood Watch. That just opened up another whole can of worms for me as I started to browse and got lost in the sauce. Knowing how to resource can be a very effective tool. I agree that the folks behind the counter should had items clearly labeled or if asked if that product is wild or not. If they’re hesitant to answer that then you already know the answer. Nice post

  13. Hey Grandma,
    I think that’s great you want to be more aware of your seafood purchases! While I would prefer to just send you some I caught over the summer, I understand that’s not always a realistic option. I would recommend buying wild-caught salmon at the market instead of the farmed salmon. Buying farmed fish from outside of the US encourages those companies and markets to continue those practices that are bad for the fish and environment. The US has plenty of rules and regs around aquaculture to ensure its at its most beneficial and healthiest state to produce the farmed fish. While there is some pressure relief lifted for the wild salmon population, there are way more cons than pros in this situation. I would suggest reading up on what to look for on the labels so that you know what you are buying. There are different options like wild-caught (US), farm-raised, sustainably farmed, Atlantic caught salmon, Alaskan caught salmon, and a few others to consider when browsing the seafood section. Some sources say that when the label says “Atlantic salmon” it will be strictly farmed. Based on what I’ve learned about in my FISH course, I would pay close attention to the trophic level you’re buying from. We learned about a trophic cascade where the removal or addition of an animal can cause issues either up or down in trophic levels. So overall, go for wild-caught fish from the US. Check the labels to see where it was caught too if you want Atlantic salmon specifically or Pacific Alaskan salmon.

    1. Kalynn your grandma better be taking some salmon that you caught. I told my grandma that the wild-caught salmon is a better option also. I even told her the Bristol Bay Sockeye salmon is the best in my opinion. The trophic levels have an energy efficiency loss as you move up the food web. Lower trophic levels require less energy to produce and often cost less. Checking the labels is great advice I forgot to tell grandma to do this.

  14. if i were attempting to inform my grandmother how to buy which fish and where they were from, i would tell her, that her best bet is wild caught, USA raised, low trophic level fish. wild caught fish are far better of an option than farm raised fish for many reasons; farm raised fish live in very dense populations and spend their entire life in a pool so the fish are very stressed for most of their life and that could potentially have an effect on the meat, because of them being in enclosed areas, they are much more susceptible to bacteria and disease, and they often times hit the walls of their pools, which damages their skin and could lead to infected meat. on top of that, buying wild caught fish, allows you to support your local fisherman! and you want to choose USA raised fish for two main reasons, you know that the fish was ethically raised and you get to support your local fisherman and hatcheries. and you want to buy fish that reside on lower trophic levels mostly because they have larger populations so that allows you to eat more. additionally, as the trophic levels rise, you are more likely to encounter endangered fish, so if you avoid eating higher trophic level fish, you could potentially be allowing some endangered species to recover!

    1. Hey Travis,
      I like that you brought up the effects on the meat of the fish. There are so many things that can change the meat like you said. Also great that you mentioned that supporting local businesses and fishermen is better than the alternative. Great post!

    2. I hadn’t really thought about the stress levels of the farmed fish and how that may affect the meat. That is a very good point. And the point you brought up at the end about allowing endangered species to recover is also another point that I had not thought of and is a very well put statement.

  15. This has truly been a debate for decades in the making; to eat farmed fish or wild fish? One could say farmed fish reduce the strain on wild fish. One could also say farmed fish end up creating more problems for our wild fish in the long run. The entire argument truly is a catch 22. If my grandmother asked, I would tell her to look at all of the aspects health-wise, environmental-wise, and price-wise. Buying price is cheaper for farmed fish, but in wild caught fish you tend to get more protein and know what, or the lack there of, drugs the fish have been exposed to. It would truly come down to how -you- as an individual feel about the fish you are eating. Being an Alaskan, I am biased to want to purchase wild caught fish and support our Alaskan economy, but this isn’t always the right choice across the country- for everyone. As far as buying overseas VS. buying from the US, I would urge someone to buy only from the US. The US does implement very strict regulations on fish farming, but also implements strong regulations on commercial fishermen seeking out wild fish too! I just recently listened to a seminar about marine mammal bycatch and it spoke about how we implemented a regulation (cannot remember the reg name) but we’re still waiting for other countries to get on board. Those countries who became on board are the only ones we will purchase overseas fish from. When buying overseas, you don’t know how their farmed fish are managed or how their wild fish are caught- or even what the detrimental affects from their commercial fishing were. I would also urge someone, who eats an insane amount of seafood, to focus on consuming fish from lower trophic levels before consuming higher trophic level fish. Though, I do believe depleting the lower trophic level fish would be just as bad as depleting the higher level trophic fish. I think we just have a stigma that the higher trophic fish will be over-fished due to price and population size and we will be forced to ‘fish down the food chain’, but maybe if we start bottom up, there would be less effect. Though, if we urged -everyone- to eat only lower trophic level fish, we’d have a big problem.

    1. That is a conservative way at looking at the trophic levels. It makes sense that if you would deplete the lower ones then the higher ones who be damaged as well.

    2. Lauren,

      I really like how you have acknowledged that is is a huge debate and has been for decades but what I truly appreciated about your post was that you made the decision about the individual. I absolutely 100% agree with you that this argument isn’t one sided in either direction. What makes it right for one may not make it right for another. It is an ethics and morality question and those two things are individual.

      Great Job!

    3. I liked how you brought up that since you were an Alaskan that you would prefer to purchase wild-caught fish. I to being born and raised here in Alaska would much rather prefer eating wild-caught fish. Farmed fish just don’t taste the same as a wild-caught fish.

  16. I would tell my grandma to consider buying wild caught fish to support local business and the Native’s that likely caught them. Farmed fish, while relieving some of the stress off of native populations of fish, are often detrimental to the environment surrounding them by releasing more waste to sustain the actual farming and literally in fecal waste which harms the fish and the ecosystem around them.
    I would urge her to also buy USA caught fish as opposed to overseas caught fish because it takes less energy to consume local than to consume imported through processing and transportation. The USA caught fish are also more likely to have proper worker’s rights for the people who catch and process the fish and safety than outsourced work is sure to be. These (relatively) local fish are also more likely to be caught following stricter guidelines and regulations, benefitting the fish and the consumer.
    I would tell my grandma to buy lower trophic levels to prevent a trophic cascade. Eating higher trophic levels that then don’t predate on the lower can cause an overflow of lower trophic levels that could make some species vulnerable. Eating lower trophic levels also takes less energy out of the ecosystems they come from and are more energy efficient by taking where there’s more energy available to the consumer.

  17. I would tell my grandma to buy wild fish. Wild fish are most of the times more healthy for you than farmed fish and farmed fish are more likely to have parasites or diseases because of how close together the fish are at the farms. Farmed fish are also genetically modified to age faster and mature faster for more productive breeding. While this is good for the consumers, this makes these farmed fish just a product for humans to eat. I would also tell my grandma that she should only by seafood from the US. Because buying seafood from over seas isn’t really necessary. There is plenty of seafood caught in America and buying seafood overseas is going to be much more expensive because they have to ship it all the way to America. And finally, I would tell my grandma to buy fish lower in trophic level. Because when the fishermen catch the higher level tropic fish it disrupts the natural balance between the trophic levels. A good example of this would be in the Newfoundland fishery collapse of 1992. After the cod had disappeared, the area became overflowing with shrimp and crab because these species’s natural predators went away, their populations were able to boom.

  18. Hello Grandma, from the interior of the United States, that is wealthy. Grandma, if you want to feed our family with sustainable seafood first, you need to buy from American fisheries. The American fisheries have a higher standard than foreign fisheries, and they use ethical conservation practices. I know your friends like to show off with their bluefin tuna. They have been overfished, and we should reduce the demand for them by finding a substitute like California yellowfin. If you want salmon, Bristol Bay sockeye would be one that I would recommend. They spawn here in Alaska, and we are fighting like hell to protect them. Their habitat is one of the last undisturbed salmon spawning grounds. The Sockeye salmon also provide many healthy fats and don’t have mercury like top predator fish. Speaking about trophic levels of seafood lower in the food web is probably a better choice for sustainability. Shrimp caught in the U.S. would be a good choice, and avoid shrimp that are caught with skimmer trawls in the U.S they have been known to catch turtles. Farmed mussels, clams, and oysters would be an excellent choice for sustainable seafood. I am not a fan of the farmed salmon. They are caged and fed ground-up fish caught from the sea. I would much rather have salmon from our wild stocks. I also found a website that you may be interested in. It’s called seafoodwatch.org, and they offer a seafood search that lets you search for a type of fish. Seafoodwatch.org will tell you which fisheries are or aren’t recommended and why. I also read in an article that you should ask your seafood counter for sustainable options. This will allow them to know that there are conscious consumers who shop there and can carry options for people like you. Grandma, these teachers keep giving me homework, and I have to catch up. I love you and tell grandpa hello for me.

  19. From the information I learned in this class I would inform my grandmother to purchase the wild caught seafood from within the USA and locally harvested if possible and to not purchase anything from overseas. I would advise her to purchase as local as possible so that we know or have an idea of how and where the food was being harvested from. To take into consideration the cost it took to get it from overseas to the store, from packaging to the price of gas amongst the many vehicles and boats. As far as the trophic levels I would advise her to purchase closer to the bottom because the food we have chosen has the ability to find food along the bottom and so to my understanding it would not rely so much on humans. Many fisheries are exploding with a fast-growing product in a short period of time and now parasites and diseases are a concerning issue. But with the lower trophic level, the species then can survive on what that ecosystem offers; to take mussels, clams and shrimp into consideration for the meal we are going to prepare together. With the pollution a high concern worldwide, I would advise her pay attention to what is in season in the area and together we could help by not contributing to the global warming issue at least. Nothing is perfect and even in times of want we can make choices that enhance our environment instead of destroying it little by little over time.

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