We may have heard of organic vegetables and crops, and we easily understand how they are produced. Instead of chemical fertilizers, organic alternatives are used in order to make the soil fertile and to keep the plants healthy. It is already relatively common, as more and more farms are adapting the organic way of farming after realizing the benefits on the environment, their crops, and most especially, their wallets.
However, in the realm of fisheries, those who are not well versed in the subject find it hard to think that fish is “inorganic,” associating anything that is not organically grown as unsafe. For the most part, we have always been told that fish is the healthy food, the better source of protein than pork or beef, as it is good for the heart and it reduces the risk of other cardiovascular and blood problems related to bad cholesterol. Those who are concerned about their health, especially those who have tainted patient records, avoid meats of any kind and only choose to eat fish, as per doctor’s orders. So it naturally follows that people believe that fish is the better and sager choice.
But little do we know where our fish come from. If they come from ponds, they must be applied with chemicals for breeding and grow-out. If they come from the ocean, they must be contaminated with the industrial wastes dumped carelessly into the ocean. We care about where our vegetables come from, as certain areas are notorious for using pesticides and chemical fertilizers. But what about the fish that we eat? How safe is fish for human consumption? Do we have a healthier alternative?
With the issues coming out against fish, we may think that it is not much different from all those good things gone bad. It is like the vegetables that were once good for the health. But because most farmers now are treating their plants with chemicals, these once-healthy natural food has become detrimental to our health without our knowing it. One magazine on health developments reported that although deep-sea fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are good for the heart, the flesh of the fish at the top of the pelagic food chain might be infected with pollutants such as mercury, which reportedly increases the risk of heart disease. The article however said that tests are not conclusive as to the veracity of this statement, and until more studies are done on the subject, experts agree that the benefits of eating fish still outweigh the risks. But pregnant women and lactating mothers are still cautioned in order to protect their babies from mercury exposure.
With the invitation to visit organic fisheries in the island province of Guimaras, more popularly known for its mangoes and kalamansi, there’s a mix of wonder and excitement-especially at the prospect of eating real healthy fish, free of chemicals and other pollutants. So off we went to Guimaras, armed with a lot of questions on the subject of organic fish. And we were not disappointed. As the now popular expression goes: Fish tayo!