You can love Finding Nemobut nobody likes search for nematodes in their food.
Eating fish supports an industry that kills trillions of fish every year by piercing, crushing, gasping, and gutting them while they are still conscious – and this puts you at risk of contracting roundworms (nematodes), flatworms and tapeworms. The likelihood that at least one of these parasites is hiding in your fish meal may be higher than you think.
Do all fish have parasites?
Any fish caught in the wild can contain nematodes. One study found that over 90% of certain species of wild-caught fish were infected with nematode larvae. Another concluded that one of the species of worms that infect fish around the world is now 283 times more numerous than in the 1970s. This number is expected to only grow – the researchers found that the warmer temperatures caused by climate change significantly increase the number of parasites found in wild-caught fish.
Worms in salmon
The horrific stories of people finding worms in salmon shouldn’t come as a surprise. Data cited by the British Columbia Centers for Disease Control suggests that 75% wild Pacific salmon infected with anisacid nematodes. In another study, researchers in Alaska found nematode infestation in each they examined freshly caught salmon.
Worms in farmed fish
What about aqua-farmed fish, where farmers stuff them into filthy enclosures and sometimes starve them for days on end? If you guessed that the stressful, crowded and unsanitary environment in aqua farms increases the risk of parasite infestation, you were right.
Worms are so common in these fish farms that farmers use antibiotics, pesticides or chemicals to control infections and diseases. One study even concluded that “it is rare to find any aquaculture species that are not bothered by at least one problematic parasite in the rearing process.” And fisheries are not very open about their parasitic outbreaks – the researchers found that “they are often underreported, which hides the severity and impact of certain parasites.”
Is it safe to eat fish with parasites?
The use of parasites can cause health problems ranging from extremely unpleasant to deadly. If your sushi is full of roundworms, get ready to camp in your bathroom while you suffer from symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and bloody stools. Tapeworm infestations cause similar symptoms, but they can last even longer (decades in some cases), and flatworm infections can cause severe liver and lung disease, anemia, and even death.
Is a bowl of fish meat really worth the risk of debilitating health problems or even death? Keep your fish healthy and alive by switching to vegan seafood that tastes great and does not contain tapeworms or other pollutants found in real fish.
Fish is for vegan seafood!
Vegan seafood brands like Vegan ZeaStar, The Plant Based Seafood Co., Ocean’s Halo, and others offer fish-free delicacies like vegan tuna, fish sauce, and crab cakes that can be found at popular grocery chains. Or experiment with making delicious vegan seafood at home using recipes such as a vegan tuna salad and a bowl of watermelon sesame seeds.
Catch kindness, not parasites
Fish are smart and sociable, and they don’t want to be killed for food. Empathize with aquatic animals by refusing to eat them and encouraging seafood restaurants like Long John Silver’s and Captain D’s to sell vegan seafood.
Encourage Long John Silver and Captain D to sell vegan seafood!