|Friday, 18 May 2012 12:33|
The “Healthy Fish” Myth
The recommendation about eating fish regularly gives a few causes for concern
Fish is supposed to be so healthy. Because it is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, iodine, selenium and vitamin D, the German Nutrition Society, health insurance companies and nutrition experts advise eating one or two fish meals per week.
However, the executive Director of SAVE Wildlife Conservation Fund Lars Gorschlüter takes this general recommendation for irresponsible: “We know that our fish consumption, besides their known beneficial properties for health, also involves some risk: both to our health as well as the ecological balance of the seas.”
What do the proponents of eating fish keep back: the fish contains not only essential oils, vitamins and trace elements, but also poisons: such as dioxins, heavy metals and antibiotics. But the really dangerous substance for humans is the high concentration of mercury in many fish.
The Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) noted that the mercury content in freshwater fish in Norway has increased by 60% over the past few years. An especially dangerous substance to human life, so the researchers, is a special mercury compound, methylmercury. It was found in higher levels mainly fatty marine fish and that's the reason the consumption of tuna, mackerel or halibut is a serious health risk. Mercury concentrations in these fish often exceed health protection levels of mercury set by the WHO.
Health effects of mercury poisoning are severe: because it deposits in internal organs, this could lead to neurological disorders, kidney and liver damage – or even death due to organ failure.
There is also another important reason why the SAVE Wildlife Conservation Fund finds it completely irresponsible to keep the “healthy fish” myth alive: “We are aware that 80% of the world's fisheries are fully- to over-exploited”, says Lars Gorschlüter.
The numbers of European fish species have been declining for years. Four out of five species have already been over-exploited by overfishing; the numbers of the most popular fish species such as tuna and mackerel have declined, according to the results of the research project at the Universidade da Coruña, by approximately 60% over the past few years.
The latest report of GEOMAR, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel, shows that one-quarter of all marine stocks have been already destroyed by overfishing.
These and many other alarming figures show that our seas are about to collapse and explain why conservation organizations and environmental groups criticise the recommendation of health insurance companies and nutritionists.
Lars Gorschlüter: “Until depleted fish stocks have recovered, our appeal to consumers is: abstain from eating fish completely to save not only oceans but also your own health!”
Press release: A European Maritime Day on 21st Mai 2012