Is Fish Farming Sustainable?

Aug 23 2013 @ 3:39pm
by Patrick Appel

Aquaculture

Erik Vance worries it isn’t:

Many scientists and environmentalists have been looking to aquaculture — fish farming — as a potential savior for today’s radically diminished wild-fish stocks. Indeed, aquaculture in the crucial Mexican states of Sinaloa and Sonora has doubled every few years over the past decade. In Harper’s, I pointed out that farmed salmon, shrimp, and tuna require massive amounts of fishmeal, which is usually harvested from wild populations. The recent news displays another problem that I didn’t mention, but that is equally problematic: cramming thirty shrimp into one square meter is a little like putting thousands of people into unsanitary prison camps. Disease runs rampant.

(Chart: “Global total wild fish capture and aquaculture production in million tonnes, 1950–2010, as reported by the FAO” from Wikimedia Commons.)