Eating fish and mercury poisoning.

What is the connection between eating fish and mercury poisoning?

A substantial portion of salmon sold today is from fish farms. Fish in fish farms are reared in large numbers in densely stocked tanks or enclosures in rivers, lakes or at sea in sea-cages.
Many farmed fish are fed largely on wild fish. To produce farmed fish such as salmon it takes about three times the weight of wild caught fish. This is unsustainable.

In fish farms, large numbers of fish are confined in a small area which can cause serious welfare problems. Salmon as big as three-quarters of a metre long can be given the equivalent of as little as a bathtub of water each.

Overcrowded fish are more susceptible to disease and suffer more stress, aggression, and physical injuries such as fin damage. Along with lack of space, overcrowding can also lead to poor water quality, so the fish have less oxygen to breathe.

Rearing fish in cages prevents their natural swimming behaviour. Fish like salmon would naturally swim great distances at sea. Instead, the fish swim in circles around the cage, rubbing against the mesh and each other.
Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout are often starved for several days before slaughter to empty the gut. Only one or two days are needed, but fish can be starved for two weeks or more.

An extensive study of chemical contaminants in salmon from many countries (Stokstad, TOXICOLOGY: Salmon Survey Stokes Debate About Farmed Fish, Science 2004 303: 154-155) has identified significantly higher levels of 13 toxins in farmed salmon, in comparison with wild salmon in many parts of the world. The undesirable toxic chemicals included PCBs, dioxins, mercury and pesticides.

Salmon from Europe, Scotland in particular, was identified as worst. US and Canadian fish were next with Chilean salmon at the bottom of the danger list. Over half the world’s salmon is now farmed.


Mercury which is found in fish that comes from burning coal and other substances, this smoke goes up into the clouds mixes with the rain then comes down into seas and rivers and the fish ingest it is a known Neurotoxin, it can also cause, tremors, Parkinson’s, mood disorders, depression, sleep problems, hormone disruptions and thyroid problems.

How to minimise your risk if you have to eat fish:

Eat small fish no more than 1 a week.
Avoid Salmon ,Tuna, Swordfish. The older and bigger the fish the more mercury they have ingested.
Eat an apple or whole grain beans with the fish as it binds with the mercury in the intestine and most of it comes out in your poo.
Take chlorella or psyllium husks to minimise the mercury damage.

It is not only the effect of mercury we should be concerned with, look at this site for more information on the problems with farming salmon.

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