Sadly, the bcsalmonfacts.ca off with a bang of “open transparency” and balanced discussion… may quickly be slipping down a fish-slimed slide of zombie facts succumbing to gravity, infested with blurry vision, landing head first in the sand.
(please stick with this longish post to see curious connections of PR-campaigns at end)
I suppose if we could all just ignore some realities out there in the ocean and bury our collective heads in the fish meal bag we would publish half-fact articles such as this:
Submitted by BC Salmon Facts
Why you need to eat more fish
January 11, 2011
BY THERESA ALBERT
We need to eat more fish. That’s the bottom line. Fish doesn’t just protect our hearts. Studies have shown other health benefits, such as lowered risk of breast, colon, and prostate cancers as well as eye, brain, and joint health improvements.
Fish contain oil that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory effects. Studies have also shown improved symptoms in people suffering with mental and depressive disorders when they supplement with omega-3 from fish oil.
[bla, bla, bla, healthy, great fish…]
If you are like most people who do not live on a seacoast, you are likely getting only one serving per week, if that, so how should you get two more? And which seafood should you consume? The top three consumed in North America are tuna, salmon, and shrimp, so that’s a good place to start.
TUNA: The first, cheapest, and most convenient way of eating fish: canned tuna, is a moderate source of omega-3. Consuming one can per week of skipjack (sometimes called light, or flaked, tuna) will net less mercury than eating the larger, darker albacore (sometimes called chunk, or solid). Skipjack tuna is also cheaper. The other two servings should come from different oceans and different types of fish, to lower the risk of one toxin accumulating.
SALMON: Most people love salmon and it is an excellent source of omega-3. But which type should you choose? Remember that big exposé a few years back saying that farmed salmon had way more mercury than wild? There’s more to the story. The “wild” salmon that was chosen for comparison was a type that isn’t normally sold at the grocery store. It was so wild that most of us can’t buy it. It also turns out that the feed was skewing the mercury numbers. Since then the farmed salmon industry has made careful strides to monitor the fish feed more closely and measure the contaminants better.
But it’s farmed fish! Isn’t that bad? Think of it this way: this planet has way too many people on it and we are all going to need to be fed. It would be utopia if we could all move to the farm, grow our own food, and fish in ponds that are spring-fed with pollutant-free crystal waters. The dilemma is that we know we need to consume more fish for our health, but the oceans are having trouble keeping up with our relentless demand.
What are we to do? We need to count on farmers as we always have, and urge them to do their most conscientious job of getting food on our tables. All of our tables. If there is enough wild fish to go around without annihilating the species and/or habitat and you can find as well as afford it, go ahead. But don’t avoid salmon simply because you are afraid of the mercury bogey man.
SHRIMP: This popular shellfish has a moderate omega-3 rating but it is the number one seafood on the market. Some fear that it has too much cholesterol for weekly consumption but a serving of shrimp per week has little or no negative impact upon our cholesterol levels and it is an otherwise lean, omega-3 containing protein.
The World Wildlife Fund is currently working with the shrimp-farming industry to create better practices; so if you are going to buy shrimp, buy American for now until the rest of the world gets on board. The healthiest fish for us (and for the planet) are the smaller fish. Sadly these are used as bait or “chum” and include delicious species like herring and sardines. Both weigh in with as much, if not more, omega-3 as salmon and are cheap and plentiful. The bonus of eating these fish is that it helps to create a more sustainable fishing industry and healthier oceans for us and the planet.
How much fish do you eat a week?
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Reading this, garnered this response from my fingers on keyboard, of which I have posted on the bcsalmonfacts.ca website and is currently being moderated:
ummm, yeah, seafood is important folks — but maybe we need a gentle review of the reality of fish stocks around the world.
Here’s a link to the United Nations FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture website:
What does it suggest there?:
“75% of the major marine fish stocks are either depleted, overexploited or being fished at their biological limit”
Yes, tuna is cheap… at the supermarket. However, the true cost of making tuna cheap… not cheap. Tuna stocks around the world are in deep shit.
What does the UN FAO say about aquaculture?:
“Aquaculture is rapidly increasing its annual global harvest and seems to offer hope for increased food production. However, for some of the more than 210 farmed aquatic animal and plant species, 8 particularly salmon and shrimp, the methods currently used require high energy inputs and can cause environmental degradation similar to industrial/chemical agriculture or factory farming of livestock.”
“The high protein feed for farmed salmon is largely composed of ocean caught fish meal and meat offal from poultry and hog processing. Because of bio-accumulation of toxins in their feed, consumption of farmed salmon even at relatively low frequencies results in elevated exposure to dioxins and dioxin-like compounds with commensurate elevation in estimates of health risk.”
what about those shrimp sources?
“Farming of shrimp in Asia has lead to significant destruction of natural mangrove ecosystems.
Genetically engineered fish are being readied for commercial production in open net pens.”
Sorry, but it’s not a pretty picture out there. We can’t simply continue to bury our head in the fish feed and pretend everything is alright out there.
The fact that folks don’t want to heed the warnings that have been coming for years on the state of the ocean and world’s fisheries is the “silly and not helpful” part. (sorry to say).
Please state all the “facts” if you really want to be transparent on this website.
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And, to be somewhat fair, there is some mention of some of the issues out there in the ocean… I did get a chuckle out of the “buy American in the meantime comment”… right, because if it’s made in America it means it’s more enviro responsible? (in some cases it may very well… however it still reeks of PR-speak)
And: “We need to count on farmers as we always have, and urge them to do their most conscientious job of getting food on our tables.” Come on…
Sorry, this is called an ethnocentric view, meaning: “the tendency to believe that one’s ethnic or cultural group is centrally important, and that all other groups are measured in relation to one’s own. The ethnocentric individual will judge other groups relative to his or her own particular ethnic group or culture, especially with concern to language, behavior, customs, and religion.” (Wikipedia)
To Ms. Albert the original writer of this article: there is in the world, even today, a few folks that could be referred to as “hunter-gatherers”… they didn’t really ‘count on farmers as we always have.’
I’m not suggesting that the world’s population where it stands now could necessarily continue in a hunting-gatherer lifestyle… however, if we’re all about stating “facts” in an “open and transparent” manner then lets try our best to not simplify everything to the lowest common denominator and forget half the facts.
That’s like trying to make bread or cake with only half the flour… and we know what the result of that is… wet, sloppy, glop that we end out having to flush down the toilet.
(oh right, and let’s not forget the fact that there is this huge movement afoot in North America surrounding food security including: community gardens, 100-mile diets, organic farming, self gardening and so on, as opposed to chemical intense, industrial, genetically modified factory farming.)
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Curiously, if you follow the link to the article that “bcsalmonfacts.ca” decided to post, there’s a curious thing on the bottom:
Excerpted from Ace Your Health by Theresa Albert, Copyright © 2010 by Ezra Levant
[Jan. 23 update, quite curious to find out where blog posts travel to and who might be reading them… the joys of social media. I received this email Sunday Jan. 23 in relation to the information in this blog post below:
Hello Mr. Loewen,
I am writing from McClelland & Stewart, the publisher of Theresa Albert. You posted a blog entry on January 12, 2010 in response to an article Albert contributed to the Toronto Star’s Best Health website titled “Why You Need to Eat More Fish.” The piece was syndicated by other media outlets but was initially published here http://www.healthzone.ca/health/dietfitness/diet/article/919804–why-you-need-to-eat-more-fish
Upon publication, the credit information for the source material of the excerpt contained a major typo – listing Ezra Levant as the author of Ace Your Health instead of Theresa Albert. This was a simple cut-and-paste error on the part of the Toronto Star. They pulled the format of the credit tag from a past excerpt (by Ezra Levant) to attach to this piece and substituted Theresa’s name and the title of the book in the appropriate places. Unfortunately, they missed one substitution and published the piece with “Ezra Levant” included. This was quickly corrected.
Ezra Levant had absolutely no involvement with this book. It is only fair to your readers to remove the portion of your article associating him with Theresa Albert’s opinions and research.
McClelland & Stewart
Keep this in mind as you read the material below. However, also keep in mind the comment that the point here is not to make direct connections… it’s more to compare the PR tactics, as mentioned below. Simply seemed like a bit of a stretch of a coincidence… and sure enough it was. ]
Who is Ezra Levant?
Well… this is curious… he is “a is a Canadian lawyer, conservative political activist and media figure” and has a blog that he suggests is: “Opinions and articles by a conservative activist.”
And, well, if you read some of Mr. Levant’s posts, or his books, he’s on the same campaign, if not maybe assisting, PM Harper and “Environment” Minister Kent to sell “ethical” properties of the Canadian Tar Sands — (as opposed to the environmental merits… or lack of). As one of his blog posts asks, do we want oil from Saudi Arabia or Alberta?
Well… there is a part of me that asks: oil from Saudi Arabia has been fine for the last few decades, why not now? This is certainly not to suggest where my preferences lie on this issue — it’s more the whole: good for the goose, good for the gander thing. Nobody makes much of a stink about oil from the Middle East when oil reserves in this part of the world were less developed (not that I noticed anyways, I might be wrong…); now that we have increasingly developing oil reserves (e.g, tar sands and potential in the Arctic), let’s start riding the “ethical” train and painting those other sources with the bad, boogey-man brush.
Where were those ‘ethics’ a decade or so ago when that apparently ‘unethical’ oil was fueling much of North America’s ‘growth’?
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Even more curiously, Wikipedia lists Mr. Levant’s recent work:
From 2009 until 2010, Levant worked as a lobbyist for Rothman’s Incorporated, a manufacturer and distributor of tobacco products.
Well, that is curious isn’t it? (maybe to some folks anyways…)
Everyone’s free to choose whatever career they like, and have opinions on whatever they like, and lobby for whatever they like (if they’re registered, that is).
For those folks out there that didn’t like my mentioning salmon farming, tar sands, and cigarettes in the same post — the connecting of the dots in this particular case starts to make those sorts of comparisons… not such a stretch. (and really, as mentioned in some comments, it’s not to meant to suggest a comparison of those actual industries… it’s more to compare the PR tactics).
This PR-spin mobile continues… and not one I plan to hang over my toddler’s crib.