Behold! Researchers Find a Diet Better than Veganism
Eating shellfish isn’t just good for your health but also for the environment, says a new climate change study. Unless you belong to the British royal family who are banned from touching shrimps, lobsters and mussels due to a high risk of contracting food-borne illnesses, following a shellfish diet doesn’t have a negative impact on marine life which is why it may even be better than going vegan!
All Fish Aren’t Born Equal
When it comes to climate change, not all fish have the same impact on our environment. According to Dr. Seuss’ wise words, “some fish are sad, some are glad and some very bad.” A new study which looks at popular seafood options and their impact on carbon emissions found surprising results.
According to the researchers’ findings, running catfish farms can create even more greenhouse gas emissions than chicken farms – however, eating shellfish is comparatively more climate friendly which is why it is even better than veganism from a health and environmental perspective.
Shell fish diet isn’t the same as pescetarianism since ranking fish according to environmental sustainability can be a complicated task. For example, land-based fish farms have been determined as unsustainable due to the amount of non-renewable energy goes into operating them. Before the release of the study, the Monterey Bay Aquarium promoted farm-grown catfish as the best choice for your diet and the environment.
However, after observing the amount of resources required to maintain catfish farms, researchers arrived to the conclusion that the fish farming business is extremely bad for the environment. The tanks in fish farms use recirculating pumps to provide a controlled environment for the growth of catfish. These pumps require a large amount of energy to operate, most of which comes from coal plants.
Fish Farming and Environment
But catfish isn’t the only species that is leaving a terrible carbon footprint on our environment. Researchers have concluded that your favorite lobster bisque is just as bad. Ray Hilborn, the lead researcher for the study says that operating lobster farms also require a ton of energy from natural resources like gas and coal which has a bad impact on climate.
Although lobster belongs to the crustacean family which technically counts as shellfish, scientists believe that it is only a specific group of shellfish called the mollusks which tend to be more environmentally friendly than their close cousins, crabs, shrimps and lobsters. Mollusks, which consist of Scallops, oysters, clams and mussels are small wild fish which is surprisingly efficient in its growth and doesn’t require a lot of energy to catch.
Richard Waite, an expert who works for the World Resources Institute, says that the new study provides convincing evidence and research methods to conclude that shellfish is relatively healthier to eat than other seafood. Although the results of the research are similar to what the other studies have found in the past, it doesn’t consider one important factor in determining the sustainability of fish farms: the amount of land required for growing the fish.
Shellfish Diet Better than Veganism?
Scientists says that farmers who clear out forests are responsible for almost half of the greenhouse gas emissions in the agricultural sector. The environmental impact is even higher when you include grazing fields required to feed the animals. In comparison to cattle breeding, fish farming is a relatively sustainable practice which doesn’t cause as much damage to the climate.
But the research doesn’t compare fish farms to actual farms used to breed cattle. Instead it only studies different types of fish and their impact on carbon emissions. The researchers observed the amount of resources that are used to operate different fish farms and reached the conclusion that shellfish is the most environmentally friendly marine creature amongst them all.
Waite says that shellfish are amazing creatures which actually clean up the water they live in instead of polluting it. No fertilizers, freshwater or land is used in harvesting shellfish. These mollusks are often grown in costal water where they have plenty of space to thrive.
If you consider the amount of land, fertilizers and natural resources that go into growing vegetables – which are the main ingredient in a vegan diet – you’ll realize that eating shellfish is actually better for the environment and your health than fresh produce!
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