Last year, I wrote about the potential risks of eating fish from the ocean. Whilst being an enjoyable and easy option as a source of protein, even for those who profess to being basically vegetarian, the question of the risks of eating ocean fish has become more of an issue in recent years.

Once of the most pressing concerns has been the incidence of heavy metals found in the ocean, especially mercury, which has been found in increasing amounts in many fish. The fish that are potentially affected by the amounts of heavy metals are halibut, tuna, shark, mackerel and swordfish. These fish are widely available and are also some of the most succulent items available at good Japanese restaurants. However, it is wise to limit the amount of fish consumed in this way.

One other area that has been of growing concern is the methods of fish farming, especially Salmon. It is increasingly difficult to get wild salmon, and huge salmon farms are now found in many parts of the world, especially the Pacific North-West, Scotland and Norway. It is known that farm raised salmon contains antibiotic residues from the feed given them, have lower omega-3 fats than wild salmon and also have absorbed high levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) from the fish meal used in these farms. Farmed salmon also contains higher levels of over 150 other chemical contaminants than wild salmon. PCBs have been proven to cause cancer, impair brain development and weaken the immune system.

Similar to the effect of industrial farming on the land, these fish farms not only produce poorer quality fish, but also contaminate the surrounding environment with the feces from so many fish and chemical contamination from the drugs used to prevent disease. Also, farmed salmon do escape and actually take over the territory of the wild salmon.

So, when buying salmon, make every attempt to buy wild salmon even if it is more expensive, and be cautious as to how much fish you eat.

If you dont think youre getting enough omega 3 oils (commonly found in fish and also in flaxseed oil), buy a good quality fish oil supplement and take up to 2,000mg daily for adults. Some recent research has implicated flaxseed oil in leading to higher levels of prostate problems, so men should be careful in taking flaxseed oil as a supplement.

Smaller fish such as sardines and herring are also good sources of omega-3 fats, so dont think you have to give up fish entirely. Everything in moderation is the key.