Although many choose fish as an alternative to eating land animals, it turns out that seafood isn't as eco-friendly as you might think. A recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins discovered that farmed fish and shrimp convert protein and calories at similar rates to livestock like cows, pigs, and chickens.
How was efficiency measured?
The study used a calculation called the "feed conversion ratio," which measures how much edible animal biomass is made from a kilogram of feed. For instance, it requires about 100 calories to produce only 3 calories of beef.
Looking at the average protein and calorie retention across nine species of farmed fish and shrimp, the study found that efficiency was similar to that of chickens, pigs, and cattle.
What does this mean for our planet?
“We face the challenge of feeding a growing human population, and aquaculture is viewed as a solution due to favorable feed efficiency compared to livestock,” says Jillian Fry, PhD, of Johns Hopkins. Turns out, eating fish and other seafood isn't such a sustainable solution.
"The reality is, our appetite for fish is causing more harm to the environment than good," says One Green Planet. "The average person in the U.S. eats around 225 fish a year, with about 43 million tons of seafood consumed globally in 2009. Many scientists have predicted that fish stocks in our oceans will collapse by the year 2048 due to our increasing demand for salmon and tuna." With our world population rapidly growing, diets that include animal products like fish simply aren't sustainable.
Adopting a plant-based diet is an excellent way to minimize your environmental impact and boost your health. By eating lower on the food chain, energy requirements are drastically reduced and efficiency skyrockets.
Learn more about switching to a plant-based diet here.
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Source: One Green Planet