how to choose the right fish?

What does fish bring us?

According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), fish is "the healthiest food"... Just that! First of all, it's a great source of protein. Count between 16 and 24 g/100 g of fish, (about the same as for meat). It also offers a host of vitamins, including B12, which stimulates the production of red blood cells, A, which cares for the eyes, and D, which fixes calcium on the bones. Minerals include zinc, phosphorus (both antioxidants), iodine (needed to make thyroid hormones), and iron, which provides energy.

It also provides long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, these polyunsaturated fatty acids that the body does not produce itself. Essential to health, this "good fat" lowers cholesterol and helps build the body's cell membranes. Finally, it protects the brain and heart.

Logically, omega 3s are more concentrated in fatty fish, such as salmon or tuna, at a rate of 3 g/100 g, than in lean species, such as sole or monkfish (0.3 g/100 g). Another intermediate category is semi-fat fish, sea bass or sea bream, with a medium content (1.4 g/100 g).
What are the substances that pollute seas and rivers and what are the risks to our health?

Pollution in the sea comes mainly from mercury, a heavy metal naturally released from the earth's crust into the environment. Human activity (electricity, chemistry) also spreads it. What consequence for Man? It all depends on the level of exposure to the pollutant. This is why the General Directorate of Food conducts annual monitoring and control plans (PSPCs) for food contamination. Water products do not escape it.

The recommendations of the ANSES:

The general population (adults and children over 10 years of age) should ideally eat fish twice a week, including a fat, by varying species and supply locations. Fish with a high bioaccumulative PCB content (eel, barbel, bream, carp, catfish) should only be consumed twice a month. For sensitive populations (pregnant or lactating women, women of childbearing age, children under 3 years of age, girls and adolescents), fish carrying PCBs mentioned above should be avoided. The same applies to wild predatory fish (shark, siki, marlin, lamprey, swordfish) affected by mercury, they are not recommended for pregnant and lactating women and young children.

Other species (monkfish, wolf, bonito, emperor, pomegranate, halibut, pike, sea bream, sword, ray, tuna) can concentrate a high level of mercury. Their consumption must remain limited by this same population.

Good conduct for our health and the environment

Buy French fish (for carbon footprint) and seasonal fish, i.e. a species that is not in the breeding season. This saves marine resources and, as a bonus, seasonal fish is cheaper! Make sure it has an adult size, so it will have had the opportunity to reproduce once, and it is also a way to ensure that we do not participate in the overexploitation of resources and therefore contribute to the extinction of threatened species.

Do not demonize farmed fish that are no more "dirty" than wild fish. But find out about the farms, and trust the labels. Certified organic structures (with the Organic Agriculture logo) generally guarantee product quality. The European Union also respects a control quota in its fish farms, and thus fights against the use of antibiotics and other animal meal.

 Avoid buying frozen fish because it has lost its omega 3s. Fish dishes and breaded dishes are also of little interest, as they generally contain little fish: 25% on average for prepared dishes, 57% for breaded dishes, according to a study by the Consumption, Housing and Living Environment Association (CLCV) in June 2016.

8 tips for choosing the right fresh fish

Avoid buying nets déjà̀ raised. Most of the time, they come from fish that are quite fresh enough to be sold whole. A fresh fish is very stiff. For example, take a trout or bass in your hand: they should hold horizontally and not bend under their own weight. The eye is well rounded and bright, the gills are red. It must not smell like fish, only a slight tidal smell.
Prefer the fish "of the local fisherman": sea bream, sea bass, soles, mullet, flounder, trout, mackerel, sardines, scorpion fish for the most famous. This fishing takes place the same night or two days before. They are very fresh fish.
Avoid trawler fish, which often go out to sea for several days: cod, julienne, place, monkfish, tuna. These boats fish on the high seas and sometimes return eight days later. So when they arrive at the quay, even if they are kept in the ice, the fish are no longer the first freshness.

  • 1.   The skin is bright, slimy, straightforward in colour and the scales are iridescent.
  • 2.   The eye is red or pink (dark for herring or mackerel), shiny, and above all domed and not hollow.
  • 3.   The central edge is well adhered.
  • 4.   The flesh is both firm and elastic. A slight finger pressure on her does not leave a fingerprint.
  • 5.   The smell is pleasantly reminiscent of the tide. It is not ammoniacal: a fresh fish does not have the "fishy smell", except for skate.
  • 6.   The belly is tight.
  • 7.   The gills are red and wet.
  • 8.   The fish is stiff, not flabby or soft. The whole thing has hold and not sloppiness.

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