How Healthy Are You?

By / Magazine / June 8th, 2011 / 1

Where do you place on the fish lovers scale? A new survey reveals 88 percent of Canadians have eaten seafood over the past three months. However, only 15 percent of fish consumers and 5 percent of shellfish consumers are meeting Canada Food Guide recommendations of two seafood servings per week. So, that’s a bit of a generalization. It turns out that the amount of fish you eat also has a lot to do with where you live. Some of us don’t have fresh ocean available, and relying on seafood that has been imported from halfway across the world isn’t always a viable option. Given that today is World Ocean’s Day, grab a seafood snack and enjoy.

The survey was commissioned by the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) which represents fish and shellfish farming companies and their suppliers. The Canadian Seafood Survey found that more men than women like the taste of fish (73 vs. 66 percent, respectively), and that men have a more positive impression of farmed seafood than women. Nearly three-quarters of Canadians eat salmon (74 percent), followed by trout (45 percent) and shellfish (43 percent). The gender split really did surprise me. I have to sadly admit that my mind latched onto the nearest stereotype — that men prefer steak and women prefer the more delicate meats, i.e seafood. Ok, I deserved that slap on the wrist.

“The good news is that Canadians are eating seafood,” said Ruth Salmon, CAIA’s Executive Director. “Unfortunately, our seafood consumption frequency is far below national dietary guidelines of eight servings per month. Seafood is one of nature’s best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack and Alzheimer’s Disease, guard against Rheumatoid Arthritis and reduce depression.”

Canadians eat finfish an average of 3.7 times per month, and our average shellfish consumption frequency is 1.9 times per month. The most common reason for eating seafood is health (79 percent), followed by taste (70 percent). Almost half of Canadians (48 percent) eat fish regularly at home, while 42 percent typically order fish in restaurants. Older Canadians eat seafood more often than younger respondents and immigrants eat finfish more often than people born in Canada.

“We were surprised to learn the taste of fish is more favourable with men than women,” Salmon points out. “Looking at species preference, it’s not surprising that salmon is the most popular choice. All of our seafood has world-wide reputation for quality and freshness, and we’re particularly known for our salmon. Both farmed and wild salmon are excellent nutritional choices, so it’s not surprising that one-third of Canadians don’t have a preference. It’s important to point out that farmed salmon has the added benefit of taking pressure of wild stocks and being available fresh, year-round.”

Other interesting findings: British Columbians were more likely to eat fish 6 to 10 times per month (20 percent) than other Canadians, and have the highest average consumption (4.23 times per month). British Columbians and Quebecers eat shellfish most often, while Atlantic and Central Canadians eat shellfish least often.

“Our low national shellfish consumption doesn’t reflect our delicious selection of Canadian products – in particular mussels, oysters and clams – which are in high demand internationally. Plus, they’re easy and fast to cook at home.”


Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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