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8 Things Big Aqua Doesn’t Want You to Know about Fish Feed

Updated: Jan 20, 2023

1. Taking Food and Income from Local Communities

The multibillion dollar fish meal industry is literally sucking up valuable sources of food and income from local communities in West Africa, Latin America and India. This is especially impacting women, as they lose a valuable source of protein to feed their families, and income. “In the rush for sardinella, global business interests are snatching a staple of West Africa’s diet from the people who need it the most. And the blades of the grinding machines are posing a new threat to the species at a time when climate change already has sardinella swimming for its life.” From Ocean Shock: Fishmeal factories plunder Africa, Matthew Green.


2. Wreaking Havoc on Marine Ecosystems

Small fish feed the oceans, and they play a major role in the ocean’s food web. Commonly known as forage fish, small schooling fish like herring and anchovies are a crucial food source for larger species like tuna, whales, and seabirds. “The production of fishmeal and fish oil…is precipitating the collapse of fish stocks, compromising food security, and destroying the social and economic fabric of communities…at a time when the oceans are being pushed to the brink by the impacts of climate change, pollution and overexploitation.”

3. Persistent and Bioaccumulative Toxic Substances (PBTSs)

Tragically, every wild fish contains small amounts of toxins at this point. However, when billions of small fish, such as sardinella or anchovies are crushed into a

fishmeal slurry for feed, these toxins accumulate. Salmon and other fish produced in net-pen and land-based factories bio-concentrate monomethyl mercury in their protein, and organohalogen pollutants can be passed on in their fat. The organohalogens include

chlorinated, brominated and fluorinated compounds. Exposure to these chlorinated compounds is known to cause reproductive, neurotoxic, immunotoxic, endocrine, behavioral, and carcinogenic effects in both wildlife and humans.

4. Potent Carcinogens in Fresh and Preserved Fishmeal

The production of fishmeal from fresh, and from formaldehyde- and sodium benzoate-preserved catches, results in the formation of considerable dimethylnitrosamine (DMNA). Dimethylnitrosamine is a potent carcinogen.

5. Fishmeal Contains Higher Levels PCB’s than Wild Caught Fish

Farmed salmon fed ground-up fish have been found to be higher in polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s), compared with wild-caught salmon. PCB’s have been shown to cause adverse health effects, including potential cancers, and negative effects on the immune, nervous and endocrine systems. PCBs can pose serious health risks to people who frequently eat contaminated fish. They can be transferred from a mother to her unborn baby. They may also be transferred to babies through breast milk, and exposure has been associated with learning defects.

6. Fishmeal Contains Mycotoxins, and Roundup Ready (Glyphosate)

Corn and soy are GMO crops grown with Round Up Ready. Wheat, soybean products and corn are used in fishmeal. These ingredients are often also contaminated with several mycotoxins. Most, if not all, of the reported effects of mycotoxins are negative for intestinal health. The interactions between gut microbiota and mycotoxins have a significant role in the development of mycotoxicosis, particularly hepatocellular carcinoma, Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of primary liver cancer. In addition, corn and soy cereal additives are genetically modified, and contain residues from glyphosate.

7. Fish oil and fishmeal have the highest levels of dioxins

Fish oils, produced as a waste product by industrial plants and waste incineration, have been linked to hormone changes, cancer in animals and other severe disorders.

8. The synthetic antioxidant, ethoxyquin, used to guard against damage and fire is linked to genetic mutations, liver damage and cancer

Originally, ethoxyquin was used as a pesticide in agriculture. It has been banned in the EU since 2011 because of health consequences for humans. Fishmeal treated with ethoxyquin was banned from fishmeal in the EU. Ethoxyquin has been detected in commercial salmon randomly sampled from Norwegian fish farms. A report by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) determined that Ethoxyquin may damage DNA and create liver complications. “The substance ethoxyquin itself is considered non-genotoxic. EFSA, however, found that one of its metabolites, ethoxyquin quinone imine, could be genotoxic - i.e. it may damage DNA - indicating a potential safety concern.” These side effects could lead to cancer. There is also a concern that an impurity that is sometimes in Ethoxyquin, p-phenetidine, could cause mutations in animals. Ethoxyquin is permitted in the USA.

* No filtration system or municipal treatment can fully prevent these toxins from getting into the water. Nordic will also be using numerous other chemicals including caustic cleaners, germicides and tranquilizers to name only a few. These too will find their way into the fish and the bay.*

8 Things Big Aqua Doesn’t Want You to Know about Fish Feed
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