Wild and farmed fish compared: pangasius, remarkably responsible
July 28, 2021 | Sustainability | No Comments
67% of consumers are open to changing their eating habits for environmental reasons, according to research of BEUC. Though spending more money on sustainably produced products is an objection for most. Pangasius has had a bad reputation due to bad farming years ago, but ASC certified panga filets are actually part of the solution.
Local is not always better
Consumers have the impression that wild-caught means that an old, wrinkled fisherman wrestled the fish from the depths of the ocean and managed to put it on their plate in quick time. However, this does not mean that the fish is actually tastier, healthier, or – according to studies – more sustainable.
For one, industrial fishing has a negative effect on the ecosystem and the bottom of the sea. Bottom trawling – a practice in which huge nets are dragged across the ocean floor – wreaks fragile ecosystems and ocean habitats. Next to that, wild fishery has lots of bycatch. Many other fish species, dolphins and even turtles unintentionally get caught whilst fishing for a specific kind.
Then there is overfishing – depleting the stock of fish by excessing fishing, which affects the ocean’s carbon storage ability contributing to the climate crisis. No good, right? This shows that the ecological impact is far lower than wild fish – making farmed pangasius a more responsible choice. And that’s not all there is to it.
The energy that brings fish to your table
A study from the University of Wageningen shows that in terms of energy, the pangasius does a good job. The amount of power used – for boats and water circulation systems – is in most cases similar or even lower than the energy used to catch wild. Looking at the arctic char, panga is even ten times more efficient!
Feed conversion efficiency
Let’s talk fish feed. Measuring the efficiency with which the animals convert feed to the desired output is a major indicator of the environmental impact of the delicious piece of meat – or fish – on your plate. Desired output with lower feed equals high efficiency in feed conversion, thus entailing a smaller carbon footprint and reduced damage to the planet. Of all meat types (fish, chicken, pork and beef) the feed conversion ratio is lowest (or most efficient) for fish.
The one thing to look for, to know for sure that your farmed fish is sustainably sourced, is an ASC-certified label. All ASC labelled pangasius adhere to the strict guidelines of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, which focuses on biodiversity, feed, pollution, disease control and social impact. With an ASC label, consumers can know that they are buying a healthier product without all the damage to the environment and socio-economic welfare. Next time when you’re in the grocery store, look for the ASC certification on your pangasius. In Western Europe, all pangasius that you find in grocery stores have the label, so you can rest assured that the laborers behind the processing of your fish work under equitable labor environments, earn a decent wage, and that the farm positively contributes to their communities and the local environment.
Convinced by how remarkably responsible the pangasius is and ready to cook? Try out some of our delicious panga recipes!