The IFA has welcomed an EU study which states that eating two portions of farmed salmon a week has health benefits for pregnant women and their babies.
Conducted by University of Granada, Spain, the EU-funded study found that eating farmed fish raised omega 3, selenium, and retinal levels, and did not boost oxidative stress.
IFA aquaculture executive Richie Flynn said the study supported research which showed the benefits of farmed fish and shellfish and the many beneficial impacts of consuming natural omega 3 from seafood.
“This study will bolster the reputation of farmed salmon,” said Mr Flynn. “Ireland already exports 85% of its fish produce to Europe. We already sell every kilo of fish we produce, so this report will do more to enhance reputation than boosting sales.
“Oily fish such as salmon and trout, as well as farmed shellfish like mussels, oysters, and clams contain high levels of omega 3, as well as other vital minerals and vitamins. Studies have shown the clear benefits of omega 3 during pregnancy but also for healthy joints, cardiovascular benefits, reducing the risk of stroke, defending against Alzheimer’s disease and anti-inflammatory effects.”
The European market is a strong outlet for Irish fish exports. About 50% of global farmed salmon and trout is consumed in Europe. Europe is also the dominant market globally for cod (80%), Alaskan pollock (50%), herring (50%), mackerel (45%), and hake (40%), according to a study by Norwegian-based fish specialists Kontali Analyse.
Mr Flynn said Irish fish farmers — who export most of their product to Europe — would like to produce more in the future, if the Govern-ment could clear licensing obstacles. He said the catch of wild fish had “levelled out and experts believe [it] will not increase into the future”, so farming was the solution to cater for a growing population and increased demand for seafood. He urged Bord Bia to ensure the public ate more fish.
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