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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

04/08/2015: Everything you always wanted to know about fish farming but were afraid to ask

The following is part of an article written by Amelia Urry that was published on Grist.org

Aquaculture is booming: As of 2012, we produce more farmed fish than beef worldwide, some 66 million tons. And while fish farming has a bad reputation, the mangrove-plowing, antibiotic-dosing, overcrowded and under-regulated shrimp- and salmon-farms of the 1980s are — like Members Only jackets and crimped hair — largely relics of those times, with a few heinous exceptions. The New Aquaculture(TM) is sleek and clean, with always-advancing science and technology on hand to help producers keep an eye on sustainability, as well as the bottom line.
 

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2011/april/images/fishfarm_news.jpg
Picture courtesy - fishfarm_news.jpg

And it’s working: According to a report from U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, aquaculture will grow by 50 percent over the next 15 years, while fisheries will probably only grow by a couple billion tons. That means, by 2030, we will farm as many fish as we catch — to the tune of 90 million tons.

When we started thinking about meat over here at Grist — I mean really thinking — we pretty much expected to stay on land. After all, most of us take a pretty Three Musketeers approach to the subject, with beef, chicken, and pork the centre and sum of all things meat (turkey being the D’Artagnan of this metaphor). 


But we know that conventionally raised meat can be pretty fraught — and, more generally, that eating animals is not always the most efficient way to get calories into people. And sensible or not, all signs suggest we’re only going to be eating more meat as the global population gets bigger and richer. 

So it’s worth looking at better alternatives — and that means looking underwater.

Can farmed fish be good?
Graham Young, director of the publicly funded Western Regional Aquaculture Centre and a professor of fishery sciences at the University of Washington, thinks aquaculture just has a PR problem — and he should know, since, in some ways, he is one of aquaculture’s PR people. 


But having spent a lot of time talking to fishermen and fisheries scientists, I am more and more convinced that there’s something to Young and other’s can-do attitude: Aquaculture’s potential for good really is greater than its record for harm. 

Even more strikingly, every expert I have spoken to agrees, however begrudgingly, that it will be a necessary part of our future food scene. So let’s get it right.

Read more HERE.

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