Seafood department jobs give an insight into human perception like never before. It’s also an interesting study into the change that government can bring into the sale of products and the supply and demand adjustments that it makes. But I’ll save those for later. Today, I’d just like to write about how people see products and the way that that view shapes their buying habits.
Growing up, as a military brat, I got to experience the world in many different ways and these “worldviews” as I like to call them, melded and created a unique view of how the world works. In my early life, we lived in Fairbanks, Alaska, far from manufacturing and with a very rugged type of vegetable growth. Along the way, I experienced the Midwest with an overabundance of grains and finally several years on the East Coast with unlimited tags on deer in DC and a huge raised bed garden in upstate NY.
Over and over, I’ll have customers come through my grocery store meat counter and ask me where the “wild caught” seafood is. And of course, I’m more than willing to show them. Wild caught seafood is the way that God intended it. It has survived the ravages of a shark eat fish economy and has all of the correct nutrients, hardships, and environmental variables to produce a healthy end-product.
This, of course, is then played as if in opposition to “farmed” seafood. Which many believe to be a sterile, lifeless, and stressful environment for the food that they will eventually eat. Ironically, while stressing about where their food comes from. Farmed seafood is seen as bad and wild is seen as good. Of course this is a false dichotomy.
Just this last year (2016) radiation made it’s way to the coast of the united States. This of course is a major deal, because the radiation affects the food that we eat as well as ourselves after we eat it. Another major finding that affects Alaskans especially, is that certain species of wild salmon in Alaska were found to have tapeworms.
These are serious problems and they do not affect farmed seafood.
Now, for the record, I’m NOT an advocate for farmed food only living. But I am for the ceasing of the prideful attitude that people walk in with that they are “wild caught only.” I get it, you are for doing it the way that God intended. But God didn’t intend for you to drive a giant gas-guzzling vehicle to a incredibly large retail store.
Branding and advertising is an incredibly effective hijacking of the human conscious and we would all do well to recognize when we are affected by them. And remember, I’m not just talking about billboard advertising and branding, I’m also talking about subliminal branding. Buying off politicians as “green” leaders is a powerful strategy. So powerful that we may never know who is telling the truth. Maybe I’m the propaganda for the advocacy for not eating seafood at all... HMM. As for me, I’ll probably be just as guilty the next time I’m shopping for seafood. Even though I know all the risks of eating wild caught fish or shrimp.
After I got the job in the seafood department, I decided to look into some of these issues, and I found that the most professional, organized and devoted people were the farmers. Many of the wild fishermen that I watched were dirty and didn’t care much for their job. This is probably the biggest reason I’ve tried bringing up this discussion to people. As a farmer, you have a responsibility. As a fisherman, you have a quota.
And actually, all in all, I personally don’t mind either one as a provider for the free market; given that the government doesn’t try to step in and decide what a “free market” should have in it. But that’s for another article.
Farm-raised shrimp won’t kill you because it’s farm-raised. It will kill you because of an error of some kind or a rogue chemical. Which is also true about wild-caught shrimp.
Oh, and I’m all for people buying local. Farmers or fisherman from the state you live in are family of sorts and buying from them should be a great priority. Russian crabs, Mexican shrimp, and clams from Maine just don’t support our local economy and while they may not be bad for any reason, I think it’s a much better idea to funnel money to your locality where you will get to experience the success of those around you.