Farmed fish have low levels of PCBs and other toxins

One win for aquaculture…some, anyway: Scientists from the Netherlands measured concentrations of several halogenated toxins in tilapia, pangasius, shrimp, salmon, trout, and shrimp that were farmed in several places around the world. Such toxins included Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs). Their levels for each species were far below European and Dutch legislative limits. However, the carnivorous fish (trout and salmon) had far higher concentrations than the non-carnivorous fish or shrimp (100-200 times for a group of PCBs, for example). The authors don’t know why, and speculate that it could be the use of fish oil and meal as feed for the carnivorous varieties, or something related to the local environments around the salmon and trout farms. (Environmental Science and Technology, full article is sub. only) Note: Even though these results provide some assurance about the safety of farmed seafood (at least in terms of the measured halogenated compounds — there are plenty of other toxins out there), aquaculture can have plenty of negative impacts on ecosystems, aquaculture workers, and surrounding communities.

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