This has been a passionate argument between fish lovers since the advent of aquaculture. Everyone has their preferences, but there are a few important things to consider when choosing between wild or farmed fish.
While Australian fisheries are exceptionally well-managed, and commercial catch limits are constantly revised to ensure populations remain strong, wild-caught seafood species can still (very rarely) be subject to overfishing.
Aquaculture species never have this problem, as they are grown and harvested according to consumer needs. Some species, such as Murray Cod and Silver Perch, are only available via aquaculture due to the strict management of wild populations, meaning you can be absolutely certain you are making a sustainable choice.
Some people believe that wild-caught and farmed seafood taste markedly different, and while sometimes this is personal opinion, for some species it is objectively true. Kingfish, for example, are farmed in colder waters than they are naturally caught, and farmed Kingfish is therefore often fattier, and more flavourful, moist and tender.
In general, farmed fish are usually fatter than their wild counterparts due to not having to hunt as hard for their food, so if fattier fish is your preference, you may like them better!
3. Supply and Availability
While wild-caught seafood is subject to any number of outside influences - weather, catch limits, and seasonality being just a few - aquaculture species are generally in consistent supply year-round. This is especially convenient when it comes to busy industry periods like Christmas and Easter, as it ensures there will always be enough prawns to go around, no matter what factors influence the wild-catch sector.
Furthermore, aquaculture allows us access to species that are not naturally found in Australian waters, such as Atlantic Salmon, but are also not imported. It is important to choose Australian whenever you can when it comes to seafood, so this provides a good option if you want to try species that would otherwise come from overseas.
Overall, the best way to figure out whether you prefer wild-caught or farmed seafood is to try both, and decide for yourself!