Increased fish farming is straining conventional feed ingredients. Will reliance on pesticide-laced vegetable feed instead lead to possible pesticide residue in fish?
As if we needed one more reason to avoid eating farmed fish, here’s one more: residual pesticides from vegetable matter in their feed.
As we consume more fish, the pressure to provide that fish places extra demands on natural stocks, leading to fish farming as an alternative. At least half of the fish we consume now comes from fish farms.
The increasing reliance on farmed fish comes with other consequences, including a rising dependence upon vegetable matter for feed as the sources of traditional feed ingredients such as fishmeal and fish oil are dwindling.
As these sources diminish, their prices increase. As a low-cost replacement, fish farms will increasingly be turning to crops such as soya, maize (corn), and rapeseed (canola). These crops almost certainly contain pesticides which can accumulate in the fish.
At the moment there is no way to test farmed fish for pesticide residues, but scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME in Shmallenberg, Germany have developed a system to test fish for residual chemicals from contaminated feed.
This process will allow regulators to create new requirements for pesticide approvals that will oblige every producer and importer of pesticides to provide information proving it cannot accumulate in the edible parts of fish.
A better way to avoid accumulated pesticides in the fish you eat is to ensure you eat wild fish or fish farmed organically.