Product: Wild Planet Wild Sardines
Price: $28.78 (case of 12 tins)
Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com
Size of Container: 4.4 oz
My Rating: 10 out of 10
I don’t generally buy much canned meat. Sardines are the big exception. There is so much good about them. I eat them about 4 tins a week. Sardines, some places they’re called pilchard, are actually a variety of small oily fish related to herring. Not only are the delicious, full of protein and healthy fats, they are also one of the best sources of Omega 3 available.
Omega 3 fatty acids are often called the “good” fat. They raise HDL. They are anti inflammatory. They help keep the arteries clear of plaque, they fight depression, improve brain development in infants, the list goes on and on.
Animals cannot synthesize Omega 3. We have to get it from our diet. Omega 3 is mostly created by green plants. This is one of the reasons grass fed beef is better. Grass contains Omega 3. The grains fed to feed lot cattle are not green plants and are almost entirely Omega 6. The largest source of Omega 3 on the planet is plankton. The diet of sardines is 100% plankton. Sardines are very high in Omega 3.
We are constantly being told that we should be limiting our consumption of seafood because the ocean has become polluted with Mercury. As big fish eat little fish that mercury gets more and more concentrated. By the time you get up to the apex predators, like swordfish, shark, or marlin, the mercury is so concentrated that these fish should not be eaten at all.
Sardines, on the other hand, are at the very bottom of the food chain, feeding solely on plankton. They contain very little mercury and can be safely eaten more often.
You may have heard that the North Atlantic sardines and pilchard have been so overfished that they are now considered threatened with extinction. Things are different with Pacific Sardines. The Pacific Coast Sardine population recently crashed but over fishing is not the culprit, at least not entirely. The North Pacific Sardine population has always gone through booms and crashes due primarily to cyclic fluctuations in the North Pacific Gyre. This phenomenon is known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation,
The sardines were plentiful in the 1930s when John Steinbeck wrote about Cannery Row. The population crashed in the 50s and the canneries closed. There was another boom and crash in the 80s. By the turn of the century, they had recovered again. 2006 was the highest, then they crashed again.
By 2014, Federal Fisheries management slashed the allowable catch totals by two-thirds. In 2015, they declared a complete moratorium on sardine fishing. That ban remains in place today. The Sardines we buy today are mostly caught on the other side of the Pacific where population numbers are better. Since sardine fishing is so heavily managed, I’d call that sustainable.
Every time the sardines have gone away they have returned. Will global climate change disrupt this cycle? That’s a much bigger question.
Wild Planet Wild Sardines
Wild Planet Sardines are my choice. They are sustainably sourced from managed fisheries. They come in several different preparations, from plain, to packed in olive oil, to packed in marinara sauce. I’ve tried some of the others but my usual choice is water packed, no added salt. Then I can add my own other ingredients.
They are not the cheapest sardines on the market, but for all their goodness and quality they are a good value. They are delicious and a mainstay of my Ketogenic Diet.