Scientists Convert Carnivorous Fish Into Vegetarians, Validates This Writer’s Life Choices
August 17, 2013

Scientists Convert Carnivorous Fish Into Vegetarians, Validates This Writer’s Life Choices

There is a saying amongst brewers, one that is probably ripped off from entrepreneurs and bankers alike:

“It takes beer to make beer.”

Apparently, the same can be said for the fishing industry, according to University of Maryland researchers.

There are some breeds of fish that insist on eating other fish, meaning that fish farmers must throw good fish after bad to sustain their industry. To improve this situation, the Maryland researchers set out to turn a known carnivorous fish — the cobia — into vegetarians.

Because, as we all know, vegetarians are better for the Earth.

“Aquaculture isn’t sustainable because it takes more fish to feed fish than are being produced,” explained Aaron Watson. He’s a graduate student at the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science and, I have it on no authority, a totally rad dude.

“But a new vegetarian diet might change everything.”

Yes, Mr. Watson…yes it will.

According to their study, it wasn’t necessarily an easy conversion from eating meat to eating veggies. It took the fish some four plus years to finally make the leap. Though the researchers kept throwing pellets containing lipids and fatty acids at the fish, they weren’t too keen. Finally, they developed a recipe that the cobia and another meat-eating fish, the gilt-head bream, found good enough.

The final recipe?

A lovely concoction of corn, soy and wheat mixed with something to really get the juices flowing: Taurine.

That’s right, taurine, a popular additive in many of today’s energy drinks for humans.

The new veg pellets are reported to be some 15 to 20 percent more expensive than normal cobia chow, but the fish that do eat it also grow to be larger than average size, so, you know…it’s a game of trade-offs.

If you don’t mind, dear reader, I’d like to take this opportunity to speak directly to these recently converted fish because, you know, I have an avid fish following.

Dearest cobia clan,

It’s not all bad. Though some find it hard to make the transition from meat protein to veg protein, in the end you’ll probably feel healthier, cleaner, and have more energy.

Oh, sure, there’s an initial and short period where you’ll feel weak (assuming a fish’s body is like a human’s. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor), but don’t be fooled into thinking this means you need to eat meat to survive.

Oh, and the whole 15- 20 percent more expensive food? Yeah, go ahead and get used to that. It only speaks to how screwy the meat industry is that growing a living animal, slaughtering it, processing it, storing it and shipping it all over god’s green earth somehow costs LESS than growing a plant in the ground, picking it, and dropping it off at your local farmer’s market.

Have fun figuring that one out.

Oh, and may I make one last suggestion?

You gotta get away from the corn, soy and wheat. That’s beginners’ nonsense. Try some leafy greens or some fruit for crying out loud. There are so many other options to vegetarians outside of soups, stews, chills and soy-based dishes.

What’s that?

You say you’re a *expletive* fish?

Oh, right. As you were, then.

Image Credit: milo827 / Shutterstock

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