How Sustainable is Farmed Fish?


Aquaculture has been a boon to the supply chain and as the quality of many species has improved, it has been embraced further.


But the issues of sustainability that have plagued some wild species have also become more prominent on the farm. Ultimately, the ecological impact of aquaculture depends on the species being raised, how they're raised and where the farm is located.

Trout, catfish and tilapia are raised inland in sustainable water supplies where wastes are carefully controlled and cannot contaminate coastal waters or the wild supply.

Salmon are cultivated in net pens usually situated in coastal waters. In the United States, Canada, Chile and other developed nations, salmon farmers must abide by laws that protect the surrounding seas from wastes, so country of origin sourcing and sustainable practices should be key to purchasing decisions.

Clams, oysters and mussels are raised in special beds or on ropes suspended near the shoreline. Harvesting these shellfish does little to disturb the ecosystem. And as they grow, they filter plankton from the water for their food supply and can actually improve water quality.

Shrimp farms run by certain producers in the United States and Mexico use re-circulating closed-water systems and tanks, thus eliminating contamination by waste products; others use inland ponds and treat the wastes internally. Several shrimp farms, including one in Ecuador, have also received organic certification. But generally, shrimp farmed in Asia and Latin America are not as ocean-friendly. Check with your supplier to make sure you're getting sustainably farmed shrimp.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
business pamphlet fair show

As we struggle to recruit and retain millennials, we had our current millennial employees invite friends who don’t work for our organization to a Q&A session where we find out why our organization is or isn’t appealing to them, and what they are looking for in an employer. I recommend doing this off-site in a casual environment so you can get honest and open feedback that could be useful for better marketing.

Menu Development
pho bowl

Achieving authenticity can be tricky. Late last year, Oberlin College landed in the news when students protested the way dining services at the Ohio school was botching ethnic food, serving up inauthentic versions of Asian and Middle Eastern dishes. It’s a challenge other operators are confronting, too, often tapping staff and patrons for inspiration.

At 260-bed Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Scottish Rite, Executive Chef Bradley Czajka, himself of Polish-Ukrainian descent, started Global Stations as a way to recognize the diversity of cultures at the hospital. “We have such an...

Menu Development
sweet pea ravioli

On any given night at the Wake Robin senior living facility in Shelburne, Vt., residents may find spring sweet pea and mascarpone ravioli with white wine cream sauce or acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and cranberries on the menu. These dishes, along with a new sweet-potato burger topped with cilantro aioli, aren’t just delicious, says Director of Dining Services Kathy King. They’re also completely vegetarian.

The popularity of Meatless Mondays and the growing number of people who call themselves “flexitarians” have impacted menu development in every noncommercial sector. Although...

Managing Your Business
umass amherst food

Restaurateurs in Amherst, Mass., aren’t happy with UMass Dining .

Registered dietitian Dianne Sutherland told local NBC affiliate WWLP News in May that the high quality of food served on campus means students aren’t visiting neighborhood eateries as frequently as those businesses might like.

“Even our vendors who we work with, they get complaints from the restaurants that students are staying on campus,” she said. “They are already paying for the food; why should they [go] off campus to eat?” More than 19,000 Amherst students are on a meal plan—6,000 of whom live off campus...

FSD Resources