Farm-raised fish may have somewhat less exposure to mercury than their wild free-foraging cousins because they are usually fed a controlled diet, often consisting of more grains and soy, a cheaper and more abundant source of calories, than fishmeal. But they can still absorb mercury, since most fish farms are themselves located in the ocean, just close to or abutting the shoreline. Farmed fish can also absorb PCBs and dioxins, as the near-shore waters they occupy are the first stop for run-off from land-based sources of pollution.
Photo by Ivan Walsh, Courtesy Flickr.
In the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, countries around the world that were growing more bullish on nuclear power are now reconsidering their future energy investments. Germany has shut down seven of its oldest nuclear reactors and is conducting safety studies on the remaining facilities; those that don’t make the grade could be closed permanently. Meanwhile, in earthquake-prone Chile some 2,000 demonstrators marched through the capital to protest their government’s enthusiasm for nuclear power. And China, the world’s fastest growing nuclear energy developer, has suspended the approval process on 50 nuclear power plants already on the drawing board, and begun inspections on 13 existing plants.
Undeterred by the Japanese nuclear disaster, Obama pledged just two weeks following the initial explosions at the Fukushima Dai-ichi facility that nuclear power should be revived in the U.S., as it provides “electricity without adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
But just because nuclear energy isn’t a fossil fuel doesn’t make it green, given the ongoing risk of radioactivity. Also, reports the non-profit Beyond Nuclear, “Nuclear power is counterproductive to efforts to address climate change effectively and in time…funding diverted to new nuclear power plants deprives real climate change solutions, like solar, wind and geothermal energy, of essential resources.”