Farm-raised Seafood

I've heard that farmed fish are contaminated with mercury. Is that true?

The Food and Drug Administration advises pregnant women, women of childbearing age who may become pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children to avoid consumption of shark, king mackerel, tilefish and swordfish. These fish have much higher levels of mercury. None of these species are farm raised. Farm-raised fish tend to have a shorter lifespan, so mercury does not have the opportunity to accumulate in their systems. In addition, formulated feed ingredients used in aquaculture are regularly monitored to avoid possible contamination of feed with methyl mercury. You can read more here

Are antibiotics and hormones used in aquaculture?

At Wegmans we do not allow the use of hormones in farm-raised seafood. And antibiotics are never used in any farm-raised shrimp, EU organic salmon, or Canadian organic mussels sold at Wegmans. Non-organic farm-raised salmon in our stores rarely receive antibiotics. The only time they are allowed is if they are prescribed by a veterinarian and then those fish must remain in the pens until the antibiotics have left their system.

Is farmed salmon injected with dye?

No. You can read more about this topic here.

Don’t farms pollute local waterways?

Wegmans seeks out farms that employ best practices to minimize impact on the surrounding environment. For example, in open water, the placement of nets in productive currents is an important consideration at responsible farms. In addition, it is a prudent practice to be sure you’re not overfeeding (and consequently leaving too much feed in the water). And finally, when fish are harvested, the nets lie dormant (with no fish) for a period of months to allow the organic debris (fish waste and excess feed) to degrade and the ocean floor to recover. If the farm uses inland ponds (rather than open-water nets), the ponds are drained (and the water filtered), cleaned, and air-dried before water is added for the next season.

Isn’t it true that farmed fish can escape the pens and mate with wild fish?

Improvements in the pens (design, materials, and technology) and management practices have significantly reduced escapes. Our suppliers are required to report escapes to government regulators and Wegmans. There was an instance of only one escaped fish, which took place as the fish were being harvested, reported in 2016. 

Does aquaculture damage the environment?

Wegmans seeks out farms that employ best practices to minimize impact on the surrounding environment. For example, aquafarmers we work with know that it is in their best interest to keep their pond and pen areas healthy and flourishing. Therefore, they take steps to minimize any damage to local ecosystems, such as mangroves. All Wegmans suppliers must abide by local and federal environmental laws and regulations to monitor potential impacts of their business.

Do aquaculture operations consume more wild fish than they produce?

This has been a true concern of the seafood industry for a long time. We work with our suppliers to be sure they are continuously monitoring and taking steps to improve this ratio. Each species is different due to dietary needs and their efficiency at converting feed to weight. Our fresh tilapia supplier uses a feed that is 100% fishmeal and fish oil free. Our EU organic salmon and shrimp producers use less than 1 lb. of feed to raise 1 lb. of product. Our farm-raised salmon is currently at a 1:1 ratio and working to improve. We always encourage our suppliers to use wild fishmeal from trimmings of fish caught for human consumption whenever possible.

Aren’t the ponds crowded with large numbers of fish?

While it’s true that aquafarms want to maximize the number and size of fish they harvest, it’s not healthy for the fish or the surrounding ecosystem to pack the ponds too densely. Therefore, the farms we choose as partners strive to find the right balance to raise healthy, thriving product without adding undue stress on the environment.

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