The push to convince consumers that the best way to protect wild fish is to eat farmed has gotten new life by a company called LoveTheWild.
The Boulder-Colorado based group launched its oven-ready, farmed fish meal kits in 2014 and just announced they will be available at Whole Foods stores nationwide next month.
Among their investors is actor Leonardo DiCaprio who claims that “the exploitation of our oceans has left many marine ecosystems on the brink of total collapse” and that LoveTheWild is “empowering people to take action on the crisis in a meaningful way.”
Michael Kohan, Seafood Technical Director for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, disagrees.
There are some interesting perceptions in the consumer market on how decision making can apply to the production and management of our wild fisheries. That is very misconstrued and quite frankly, wrong. Alaska’s fisheries support over 60,000 jobs that depend on the fisheries. So, we have a huge community of people who rely on consumers eating wild fish and make it their livelihood to put wild fish on the market for people to purchase. You support wild fish by eating wild fish.”
LoveTheWild omits the fact that many fish grown in packed net pens are routinely doused with additives, antibiotics and pesticides. Nor do they mention that meals and oils made from wild fish are used to feed farmed fish, thereby removing more from the ocean, not less.
And a study just published in Science Daily says fish farming does little if anything, to conserve wild stocks.
Using historical data from the World Bank and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization from 1970 to 2014, scientists at the University of North Carolina concluded that the aquaculture industry has failed to reduce the pressure on the world’s fish stocks, nor has it advanced fishery conservation.
The study recommends that aquaculture should focus more on species lower in the food web, such as clams and other bivalves.
Meanwhile, LoveTheWild is touting its line of farmed trout, salmon and barramundi dishes.
Andy Wink, director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association says their farmed saves wild push is misplaced.
“Their heart might be in the right place but I don’t think they are thinking it through. If you’re worried about that, just buy fish from a sustainable fishery. That is the best way to support responsible management. Then with your purchase you’re voting with your dollar to support those who are doing things right.”