Fish as food product

Sin­ce the begin­ning of time, fish is a typi­cal food in coas­tal are­as. As fish is rela­tively easy to catch, its high-qua­li­ty pro­te­ins con­tri­bu­ting essen­ti­al­ly to a healt­hy nut­ri­ti­on of human­kind. But this is not the only rea­son why fish is an beloved pro­duct. Here is a quick gui­de to its ori­gin and what you should pay atten­ti­on to.

Fish are aqua­tic ver­te­bra­tes, who are not only caught off­shore, but are also cul­ti­va­ted in net cages by the shore or on land in aquacul­tures like ponds or RAS (recir­cu­la­ting aquacul­tu­re sys­tems). Nor­way is cur­r­ent­ly the trail­bla­zer for pro­du­cing sal­mon in the Euro­pean Uni­on (EU), which is the most eaten fish in Ger­ma­ny. Sal­mon is also the third most eaten one in the EU, with only tuna and codfi­sh excee­ding it.

In average, a citi­zen of the EU is con­suming more than 25kg (around 55lbs) fish per year. Espe­cial­ly the coun­tries Por­tu­gal, Spain, Fran­ce and Luxem­bourg are pushing this average ahigh. A Por­tu­gue­se is sta­tis­ti­cal­ly eating the most fish and its pro­ducts; by near­ly 56kg per year, it is more than the dou­ble of an average EU citi­zen. Two thirds of the over­all con­sump­ti­on are mari­ne fish, thus salt­wa­ter fish. The­se are rich in iodi­ne, essen­ti­al unsa­tu­ra­ted fat­ty acids as well as in a high con­tent of vit­amins A, B and D. Edi­ble fish like­wi­se pro­vi­ding important mine­ral nut­ri­ents and trace ele­ments. The main aspect though is the sup­ply of high-qua­li­ty ani­mal pro­te­in. Fish meta­bo­li­ze the feed bet­ter than endo­therms like catt­le or pigs and ther­eby are con­ver­ting it more effi­ci­ent into pro­te­in. That is why they do not need as many natu­ral resour­ces and have a low pro­por­ti­on of con­nec­ti­ve tis­sue, making them easier for humans to digest.

Howe­ver, also fish can have cer­tain health risks, hence it should be con­su­med as fresh as pos­si­ble or one to two days after defros­ting. Fresh fish is pri­ma­ri­ly reco­gniz­ab­le for not smel­ling unplea­s­ant­ly. A fishy smell is an indi­ca­ti­on for the ani­mal to be star­ting to dena­tu­re. This means, that micro­or­ga­nisms like bac­te­ria have alrea­dy begun to decom­po­se the food and the­re­fo­re that the food has been dead for qui­te a while. Bes­i­des a non-exis­tent smell, clear eyes and metal­lic glowing skin with firm sca­les are more indi­ca­tors of fresh­ness. Knowing this, it is no sur­pri­se, that fresh caught fish is main­ly tra­ded and eaten in coas­tal are­as. In indus­tri­al coun­tries like Ger­ma­ny, fish is most­ly avail­ab­le as fro­zen food or in pre­ser­ved form, e. g. dried or salted.

A citi­zen of the EU is cur­r­ent­ly spen­ding a four­fold of money on meat (catt­le, chi­cken, etc.) than on fish. The rea­sons for this are the gene­ral pre­fe­rence for meat plus the com­pa­ra­tively high sel­ling pri­ces of fish. The­se pri­ces have risen wit­hin the last years, becau­se of the tigh­te­ned envi­ron­men­tal mea­su­res and the decli­ne of fish caught on the open seas. While in 2016 the retail rate of average food rose only about 0.8%, the pri­ce of fish and its pro­ducts incre­a­sed about 3.3%.

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— world oce­an review, Fisch und Mensch – Nah­rungs­mit­tel Fisch (‑2/fisch-und-mensch/nahrungsmittel-fisch/, auf­ge­ru­fen am 20. August 2018)
— Men­ke, N. in WELT: Fisch – die unter­schätz­te Vit­amin­bom­be. 06.09.2011 (, auf­ge­ru­fen am 20. August 2018)
— Der EU-Fisch­markt, Aus­ga­be 2017. EUMOFA
— Fisch­wirt­schaft – Daten und Fak­ten 2017. Fisch-Infor­ma­ti­ons­zen­trum e.V.

Image source
Colour­box – NPDStock