Fish has always been the best dietary source of the animal-based omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. While your body may be able to produce some of these fats, the process is relatively inefficient, so they are considered conditionally essential.1 This means to acquire sufficient amounts for optimal health, you need to consume the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA from your food.
Unfortunately, as the levels of pollution in the oceans have increased, so have the toxins you consume. If you aren’t choosy about where your fish is harvested, the pollutants in the fish may outweigh the benefits of the healthy fats. At the same time, many fish species have been overfished and dangerously depleted. Orange roughy is one example. A slow growing, deep water fish, they don’t usually reproduce until age 20 and may live up to 149 years.2
In the 1980s the popularity of orange roughy exploded and led to driving it almost to extinction. In some areas, fishing for roughy has been restricted and scientists expect it to take many years for the population to recover, if it ever does. Farm-raised fish are also not the answer as they present problems for both the environment and the consumer.3
Raising fish in a confined area results in the same kind of waste pollution problems as land-based factory animal farms struggle with. Fish farms also reduce biodiversity, spread disease and sea lice, and contaminate water with pesticides. It is important to consider not only your health but also the impact on the environment when choosing seafood for your family.