Disclaimer: The following suggestions are presented for informational purposes only, and are not intended, nor should be taken, as medical advice. Please consult your doctor if you require advice on natural or supplemental forms of Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs).
The human body cannot manufacture Omega-3 EFAs, nor does ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) have a high conversion rate (see Plant-based Sources of Protein & Omega-3 EFAs under Solutions), so we must obtain them from food. The human body can easily convert DHA to EPA, but has difficulty converting EPA to DHA. Omega-3 EFAs have been extensively clinically researched and are good for cardiovascular, brain, eye and joint health.
Fish oil and krill oil contain more EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) than calamari oil (fish oil contains twice as much), but they contain far less DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Squid are naturally rich in DHA and calamari oil is the richest marine source of DHA, containing more DHA than fish oil and krill oil combined. Calamari oil contains a DHA to EPA ratio of 2:1.
Ecologically sustainable alternatives
If you want to consume marine sources of Omega-3 EFAs for their purported health benefits, consider calamari oil and Arctic Cod liver oil as more ecologically sustainable alternatives to fish oil and krill oil. Whereas additional wild-caught whole fish (usually smaller forage fish) and krill (the primary food source for baleen whales) must be harvested to be made into supplements, calamari oil and Arctic Cod liver oil is produced from the offcuts of the original catch, so no additional catch must be harvested to produce the supplements. The entire squid or fish is utilised, with no wastage.
A proportion of the annual global squid harvest is not utilised for human consumption and these offcuts that would normally be discarded as waste are used to manufacture calamari oil. All by-products of a catch are utilized, so no additional squid must be caught to obtain the raw material.
The method used to harvest squid is sustainable, small-scale, eco-friendly and highly efficient as it utilizes 100% of existing catches. The jigging method is employed using small, artisanal vessels and unbaited, barbless hook-lines, with no impact on coral reefs or the seafloor (see Coral Reefs, Seagrass Beds & Mangrove Forests under Impacts) and virtually zero by-catch (see Bycatch & Incidental Capture of Cetaceans under Impacts).
Squid may be more resilient to overfishing than other species harvested for their Omega-3 EFA benefits. Squid are a semelparous species with a short lifespan of approximately 450 days and are harvested near the end of their lifespan. Because the method used to fish squid is highly selective, adults are targeted for capture rather than juveniles.
Squid have a low reproductive age, so juvenile squid can reproduce rapidly and replenish the biomass. Offspring have a low mortality rate. Squid have an efficient food-to-growth ratio of one unit of body weight per two units of food consumed. Because squid have a short lifespan, they accumulate lower concentrations of heavy metals.
Arctic Cod liver oil
The Arctic Cod fishery in Norway is one of the most well-managed fisheries in the world. The entire cod, or skrei, is utilised, so nothing is wasted. The liver of the Arctic Cod is turned into cod liver oil. The cod can only be harvested between January and April during the spawning season, when the flesh, roe and liver of the Arctic Cod are at their highest quality.
The cod harvesting season is important for Northern Norwegian coastal communities, both for its historical significance and their food security. Arctic Cod has shaped the identities of many regions, nations and cultures, within Norway and outside of Norway, on many levels and scales – gastronomical, traditional, historical, spiritual, social, economic, environmental.
Dried cod heads are exported to Nigeria and used as an ingredient in their national dish. The civil war in Nigeria fifty years ago saw over a million people perish from malnutrition and starvation over a three-year period. Many countries provided emergency supplies to aid in the nation’s recovery. Norway contributed stockfish, a protein- and vitamin-rich food, as a life-saving ration, which has now become a staple, and part of Nigeria’s culinary identity.
Alternative marine oil consumer products
Nordic Naturals offer high-quality, sustainably sourced and non-GMO 100% wild Arctic Cod liver oil supplements. Three wild Arctic Cod Liver Oil soft gel capsules daily provides 240mg EPA and 360mg DHA, while 1tsp (5ml) of non-concentrated Arctic Cod Liver Oil liquid daily provides 340mg EPA and 510mg DHA. Nordic Naturals also produce high-quality fish oil and marine algae (see Marine Algae & Forage Fish under Solutions).
Pharma Marine offer eco-friendly, sustainably sourced, high-quality products, including wild Arctic Cod liver oil, calamari oil and plant-based DHA (see Marine Algae & Forage Fish under Solutions), which are Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Friend of the Sea certified.
© 2016 – 2021 Seafood Free September
Nordic Naturals Wild Arctic Cod Liver Oil, https://www.nordicnaturals.com/consumers/arctic-cod-liver-oil
Seafood from Norway, https://fromnorway.com/seafood-from-norway/cod/
Pharma Marine, https://www.pharmamarine.com/
Skrei Net – Arctic Cod Archive, https://www.skrei.net/