Wild-Caught Fish: Why it Matters for the Environment and Your Health

From the very beginning, truLOCAL has also been dedicated to providing Canadians with healthy, ethically sourced seafood that is both delicious and responsibly harvested. To this end, we have made providing wild caught fish and seafood of all kinds a cornerstone of our business.

From the very beginning, truLOCAL has also been dedicated to providing Canadians with healthy, ethically sourced seafood that is both delicious and responsibly harvested. To this end, we have made providing wild caught fish and seafood of all kinds a cornerstone of our business.

In the two years that truLOCAL has been providing Canadians with high-quality fresh meat, we have been recognized as experts in home meat delivery who understand that Canadians have an appetite for high quality, local, and sustainable meat. We have pioneered the delivering of personal and family sized meat delivery boxes in Canada and put good, healthy meat within the reach of thousands of consumers. Our commitment to sourcing wild caught fish is an extension of this. 

If you have often wondered about the differences between farmed and wild caught fish, and want to gain a better understanding for why sustainable, wild-caught fish is essential for the health of consumers and the environment, here is a brief history of fish farming, and an explanation of why wild caught is always better.

Canada’s Fisheries: A Way of Life Under Threat

Fish has long been an essential part of culinary traditions from Europe and the Middle East to China, Japan, Korea, and North America. The breathtaking diversity of ocean and freshwater seafood, coupled with the rich, delicious flavours of fish like salmon, perch, and pickerel, has led humans to travel the world in pursuit of new seafood sources.

Indeed, one of the things that first attracted Europeans to the lands that would become Canada was the vast schools of cod off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, and large parts of the economy in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Newfoundland and British Columbia are dependent on our unending appetite for fish, shrimp, lobster, and shellfish. The history of seafood is, in some ways, the history of Canada.

But in recent years, environmentalists, ecologists, and fishery experts have raised questions about the sustainability of Canadian fishing practices. One of the first warning signs was the collapse of the cod fishery in 1992, which raised alarm bells about the rapidly depleting stocks of a seafood staple that had once been so plentiful, fisherman needed simply to lower baskets into the ocean to harvest it.

It wasn’t just cod that was cause for concern; experts also warned that Atlantic salmon, a cornerstone of Canada’s seafood industry and a culinary favourite the world over, was also in danger of being overfished.

Government and industry leaders faced an unappetizing choice: impose fishing caps that would damage the economy and put hard-working fishermen out of a job, or watch the global market for seafood destroy the fisheries forever. One thing was clear — in order to fishing to survive as a way of life, those involved in the fishing industry would need to take sustainability seriously.

The False Hope of Fish Farming

In the context of growing anxieties about the future of fish, the rise of fish farms at first seemed like an obvious solution.

For time immemorial, catching fish meant trap fishing, spear fishing, or line fishing along rivers and coastlines, or taking the seas and lakes in boats to bring in a deeper-water catch. Most species of fish are highly mobile, travelling great distances over the course of their life cycles as they hatched, matured, spawned, and died. Unlike cattle or poultry, which could be domesticated, if you wanted fish, you needed to find them in the wild.

While various kinds of aquaculture were experimented with around the world throughout human history, it wasn’t until the 1960s that commercial fish farming became a viable option when the intensive farming of rainbow trout got started in Denmark.

This innovation quickly spread across Europe and North America, and for a while, it seemed as though farmed fish provided a solution to the problems posed by the exploding human population and a rise in the standard of living that meant that more people than ever before could afford to purchase fish.

But however much early promise fish farming may have held, it didn’t take long for the problems inherent in farming species of fish like salmon became inherent. A wild caught sockeye salmon from the Pacific coast will have travelled thousands of kilometres by the time it reaches maturity. Migration routes take these fish from the coastal waters of Puget Sound out to the mid-Pacific and north to the Aleutian Islands and Alaska’s south coast before returning to the deep fjords of British Columbia’s northern coast.

Over the course of a sockeye’s life-cycle, it will navigate fast flowing mountain rivers, warm coastal waters rich in food, and the vast currents of the Pacific Ocean. Raised on a natural diet, this fish will be lower in saturated fat, and it tends to be, on the whole, much healthier.

This is not the kind of salmon most North Americans who purchase their seafood in grocery stores will get, however — the overwhelming majority of salmon that is sold in Canada and the United States is farmed Atlantic salmon. Indeed, half the salmon sold worldwide comes from a fish farm.

A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that farmed fish is not only less healthy than wild caught fish, but can actually contain serious contaminants. Like industrial cattle farming, fish farming packs hundreds of individual fish into a relatively small area, which increases the risk of disease. To counteract this, farmers treat the fish with large doses of antibiotics.

This leaves significant traces of antibiotics in the fish itself, and also drives the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Farmed fish have also been shown to contain more fat and less protein than wild caught fish, and may even contain up to eleven times the dioxin, a highly toxic compound that is a by-product of manufacturing processes.

If that weren’t enough, farmed fish contain a greater concentration of cancer-causing PCBs. For these reasons, some doctors have even taken to warning their patients away from farmed fish altogether.  

While fish farms may have seemed like an ideal solution to the problem of overfishing, as the scientific evidence becomes harder to ignore, more and more consumers are growing skeptical of our ability to raise fish in captivity at commercials levels without dramatically increasing the likelihood of disease.

For such people, the first question that needs to be asked about any seafood product is whether or not it is wild caught.

What You Need to Know About Sustainably-Sourced Wild Caught Fish

Making sure you purchase wild-caught seafood is just the beginning, however. While fish farms are increasingly being recognized as being a health threat to fish and humans alike (and some jurisdictions, like the state of Washington, are phasing out fish farming altogether), just because fish is wild caught doesn’t mean it is good.

There is a growing body of data that suggests that the way we catch and process fish is becoming unsustainable. Stocks are depleted, and reckless fishing practices have led to needless destruction of sea life.

Making sure that the wild caught pickerel isn’t just authentically wild, but also harvested in a way that is environmentally responsible, is essential if we want to ensure that we can continue to enjoy seafood for years to come.

One of the problems with purchasing seafood through grocery stores is that it can be extremely difficult to tell whether the wild caught product they provide has actually been ethically sourced. Many Canadian consumers of seafood have been unwittingly supporting a seafood economy that is environmentally unsound, simply because they do not know where their food is coming from.

The best way to guarantee that the seafood you purchase is being sourced by providers who understand the complexities of the ethical harvesting and can make sure that their product meets the strictest guidelines for quality and sustainability is to purchase it through truLOCAL.

At truLOCAL, we are proud to provide our customers with a wide range of seafood options, and whether you are a huge fan of fresh water pickerel or can’t get enough scallops and shrimp, truLOCAL has you covered. For example, all of our Icelandic cod has been caught by hook and line, which is the only way to eliminate by-catch and ensure that fishing for one species doesn’t destroy other aquatic life. And because hook and line fishing causes the fish less stress, which increases the quality and flavour of the meat itself.  

We take great care in sourcing our products, and we provide complete transparency about who we source from and the origin of our seafood on our website. All our seafood products shipped in Ontario come through Caudle’s Catch Seafood, a Kitchener-Waterloo based company started by Halifax native Ron Caudle committed to sustainable seafood and aquaculture practices.

If you are shopping in Alberta, your fish is sourced through Effing Seafoods, a small company based in St. Albert, AB, dedicated to building strong relationships with seafood providers as a way of guaranteeing the best possible product for customers.

In British Columbia truLOCAL partners with Organic Ocean Seafood, a Vancouver-based company that uses traditional harvesting practices to guarantee that sustainability and incredible flavour. Organic Ocean was formed by independent fishermen on the West Coast who saw the need to embrace more ethical fishing practices as a way of sustaining their way of life.

Explore the Wild Caught Difference — Start Your Order Today!

If this has gotten you hungry for more information about how you can order wild caught fish through truLOCAL, here is how you can start putting your order together today. First, you’ll need to decide what size of meal box you want. We offer two options: a personal sized box and a family sized one. Once you’ve decided what size you would like, you can start adding products to your order.

Our unique points system helps you check out our products and select exactly what you want for your meal box, which means that you can either mix and match between classic favourites like ground beef, boneless chicken breasts, and Atlantic Haddock, or you can stock up on your favourite cuts. Whether you are a pescatarian or a huge fan of surf-and-turf, we promise our selection will get your mouth watering. 

Once you’ve made your selections, simply indicate whether this is a one-time only delivery, or whether you’d like to set a repeating delivery that will come every month, every three weeks, or every two weeks. Remember: with truLOCAL, signing up for a subscription doesn’t lock you in — there are no contracts, and you can decide at any time to skip an order or discontinue altogether. It simply ensures that your favourite meats and seafood are available whenever you want them.

Once you have placed your order, your box will arrive within a couple of days. We deliver straight to your door, and because our meal boxes are refrigerated, you don’t need to be home to receive the order in person. We can also deliver to your apartment, gym, or office.

For those who are invested in building a diet that is good for the body and good for the world, switching to wild caught fish is a must. Many studies have compared farmed to wild caught fish, and the findings have been all but unanimous. For the planet and for your health, wild caught is the way to go.

With truLOCAL’s fresh meat and seafood delivery service, getting high-quality wild caught fish sourced from companies committed to sustainable, ethical, and environmentally friendly harvesting delivered to your door is easier than ever.

Don’t take chances with your health, and don’t gamble with the future of our fisheries by purchasing unclearly sourced supermarket seafood: get your seafood delivered by truLOCAL, and taste the difference today! 

Posted on August 24th, 2021