Is Eating Farm-Raised Fish Safe?

Is Eating Farm-Raised Fish Safe?

The health benefits of eating fish are not only well-documented in medical literature but are known by the majority of the population. The many different types of fish are eaten around the world in different forms.

Is fish actually healthy? The nutritional content of fish and its benefits are enough to corroborate the fact that fish is naturally healthy.

Why Is Fish Not Healthy Today?

However, in most of the cases today, the statement of it been a good addition to the diet might not be true. What matters the most when it comes to figuring out whether the fish is healthy or not is where it is coming from.

The difference between wild-caught fish and farm fish is astounding unknown. Both of them do not contain the same nutrients and can have opposite effects on the person having it.

Farm fish is usually associated with negative impacts on the body. The worrisome thing here is that most of the fish people buy from the market is farm fish and it has become more popular than the healthy wild-caught fish.

There are significant differences in both the wild-caught fish and farm fish. All the health benefits that have been long known to come from fish are the ones of wild-caught fish.

On the other hand, the fish available in markets today is usually filled with pesticides, antibiotics, and very fewer levels of nutrients which are not even near to the ones present in wild-caught fish.

In accordance with a recent study, the farmed fish contains less usable Omega-3 fatty acids as well as 20 percent less protein in comparison with wild-caught fish. A review by researchers at USDA also confirmed these conclusions.

The notorious farmed fish have been observed to have a higher quantity of Omega-6 fatty acid than omega-3 fatty acid that can lead to inflammation in the body of the person having it. These fish are also fattier.

Is Farmed Fish Safe For Health?
Image By Mind over munch


What Are The Dangers Of Farmed Fish?

Having the wrong kind of fish can have negative effects on the body instead of the positive ones associated with consumption of fish. Eating too much of farmed fish can harm the body in many different ways.

The dangers associated with farmed fish include:


One of the biggest concerns when it comes to farmed fish is the high levels of antibiotics present in it. The fish that are raised on farms are given antibiotics frequently to keep diseases away which are typically the result of too many fish.

The presence of antibiotics in meat and fish can not only cause health issues but is now seen to be linked to a higher risk of antibiotic resistance. As a result, a person might end up becoming resistant to drugs for severe or even common health conditions.

Statistically, around two million are infected every year with drug-resistant parasites in the United States. These parasites are responsible for around 23,000 deaths every year as well.

Additionally, the previously controlled diseases can have a higher chance of making a comeback upon the rise of antibiotic resistance due to excessive amounts of antibiotics present in the bodies of people.

Pneumonia, tuberculosis, and gonorrhea are some of the diseases which are now becoming antibiotic resistant along with many others.


Dibutyltin is one of the chemicals that are present in PVC plastics although the dangers of it are well-known by researchers as well as many common people.

Dibutyltin can not only mess with inflammation-control mechanisms but also the immunity in both humans and animals.

A study conducted in 2008 on dibutyltin discovered that dibutyltin may be responsible for the rise in allergies, sensitivities, obesity, asthma, metabolic disorders, and immune system issues in humans.

It is also seen to be present in fish. According to researchers, farm-raised fish contains a six times higher amount of dibutyltin than the wild-caught wish which is enough to cause health complications.


Along with antibiotics, the use of pesticides is also commonly seen in fish farms. What is the need for pesticides in fish farms? Fish farmers use pesticides mostly for fighting sea lice.

The sea lice from fish farms kill more than 95% of the wild-caught salmon which is in process of migrating. The surviving sea lice along with the pesticides travel from the farms and circulate in the entire body of water.

In fact, the use of pesticides has long been banned due to the disturbance they have caused to the marine life.

Various studies conducted by Environmental Working Group have shown that PCBs or polychlorinated biphenyls that are known to cause cancer are present in farmed fish at sixteen times higher amount than in wild-caught fish.


According to a study conducted at the University of New York at Albany showed that the levels of the harmful dioxin present in farmed fish are about eleven times higher than in wild-caught fish. This is of considerable concern since dioxin is highly toxic.

According to the World Health Organization, dioxins are extremely harmful and can stay in the fat of the body for up to 7-11 years. They can not only harm the nervous, endocrine, immune, and reproductive system but also cause cancer.

Polybrominated Diphenyl

In addition to all other toxins, the researchers have also discovered high levels of polybrominated diphenyl ether or PBDE in present in farmed fish. PBDE is a chemical which is typically used as a flame retardant.

PBDEs are also commonly-known to cause damage to the endocrine system as well as cause cancer. According to the researchers, the fish feed given to fish in farms along with its increased concentration in water bodies is leading to high PBDE levels in fish.


Anyone who is a fish-lover knows that the salmon is famous for its pink hues. The wild-caught salmon gain their pink color by feeding on krill. The fish from farms does not naturally contain the color.

In order to add a pink color to the farmed fish, they are usually given canthaxanthin by the farmers. It is a synthetic pigment also found in tanning pills and was banned in the United Kingdom after research confirmed it can also have an impact on pigments in the retina.

However, canthaxanthin continues to be used in many countries around the world as well as in the United States.

Is Farmed Fish Safe For Health?
Image By National Geographic


Is Wild-Caught Fish Better?

The information mentioned above is hopefully enough for anyone to stay away from farmed fish as it can not only negatively affect the health but is also affecting the population of the natural, wild fish worldwide.

Wild-caught fish in comparison with farmed fish is much healthier. Wild-caught salmon, specifically, is one of the healthiest dinners in the world. It has high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids that are needed since the human bodies are not able to produce them.

Additionally, wild-caught fish has a balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids, unlike the farmed fish which contains too much of Omega-6 fatty acids. Having wild-caught salmon will not cause inflammation in the body like farmed salmon.

Wild-caught fish are also a very good choice if a person is looking for sources of Vitamin D. Part of the reason why people consume more fish in the winters is that their biggest source of Vitamin D that is the sun is gone.

Eating more wild-caught fish can keep a person away from Vitamin D deficiency as well as provide other essential nutrients such as Vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorous, and niacin.







Andrea White

As a graduate of Public Health and Policy, Andrea developed an interest in disease development, food and safety and the latest advancements in health. She is a Freelance writer who had affiliations with multiple blogs. Andrea is now pursuing her post-doctorate in Behavioral Sciences.

Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published. *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!