Understanding the Difference Between Wild-Caught, Farmed, and Aquacultured Fish

Understanding the Difference Between Wild-Caught, Farmed, and Aquacultured Fish

What is the difference between wild-caught fish, farmed fish and aquacultured seafood

Have you heard about the term aquaculture? Do you know the difference between wild-caught fish and farmed fish? We are going to explain some of the key differences.

Wild-Caught Fish

Wild-caught fish, like the name says, is basically fish that are caught in their natural habitats, like lakes, rivers, oceans, etc. There’s a couple of main benefits from these fish. For example, these fish only eat organisms found in their natural habitat, which can be more diverse compared to the farm fish diet. Another big difference and benefit from this fish is that wild-caught fish are antibiotic free. 


Farmed Fish

In simple terms, fish farming is the farming of aquatic organisms for different purposes like for food, fuel and other products. This may include fish, molluscs, crustaceans and also aquatic plants. Fish farming involves raising all these aquatic organisms in controlled environments, such as ponds, tanks, or cages, using artificial means to provide the food and cover all the necessities for their growth. This allows a sustainable and efficient manner for the production of aquatic plants and animals.



Aquacultured Fish

This is usually applied to the controlled farming of shellfish and is basically an inbetween of wild and farmed. The concept is that because shellfish are filter feeders and eat plankton, they do not need to be artificially fed from the fish farmers. It is said that because they are not fed, they are not technically farmed. For this reason, we call it aquaculture and not farmed.

As you might expect, wild-caught fish is usually a bit more expensive and this is because there’s so many elements beyond human control. Along with costs associated with fishing and vessels. 

Wild fish supply is less consistent because of a number of factors like algae blooms, fishing seasons and spawning cycles. 



In comparison, supply of fish coming from aquaculture practices is more predictable. Because it is a controlled environment and farmers are always ahead of the needs of the fish. This helps restaurants and the fish industry to have consistent supply chains. Especially in an era where many fish quotas are ever changing, and many collapses of wild fish stock populations have been on the decline and even crashed in many cases over the last 100 years in North America.



Some scientists claim that they can even predict when fish are ready to harvest, as well as figure out when it’s the best time to increase production to meet the high demand. Nowadays most of the seafood comes from aquaculture and most of the growth is in Asia, with China as the world leader.

Talking specifically about seafood, both options are generally safe to eat, you just have to remember that you should buy them from a reputable source. 



Also, remember to talk to the person selling you the fish, like the head of the seafood department at your local market, to know more about the fish and where it may come from. 

Let us know if you still have some questions about aquaculture and wild-caught fish, we will gladly help you. 

And, if you happen to be at our store at 2328 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, just ask our “Fish Sensei” James if you have any doubts, want fish advice or recipe recommendations, he will be more than happy to help you.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.