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Something fishy

(article, Caroline Cummins)

Since this spring, when the pet-food disaster first raised concerns about the quality of food coming from China, awareness about just how much China feeds the world has spread. On the canine and feline heels of the pet-food poisonings came news of tainted toothpaste and other edible products made in China. Now we've got the latest in the scary-exports saga: a New York Times story about China's toxic fish farms.

According to the article, China produces 70 percent of the planet's farmed fish, which translates to 115 billion pounds of farmed seafood last year alone. But the consequences of large-scale and largely unregulated fish farming include pollution and, of course, toxic fish. As the fish farms along the country's coast turn dirty, farmers are moving in two directions: offshore to the open ocean, and inland to cleaner (for now) regions. Neither method, of course, is any more environmentally friendly than the current system of farming along the coast.

In the meantime, check out seafood-buying guides such as the one provided by Environmental Defense — and remember to ask where that farmed fish is actually farmed.