Aquaculture - The Future of Fish?
Aquaculture is in the forefront of the news lately with a large Canadian grocery chain pledging to remove red-listed seafood from its shelves and the US Congress blocking the approval of genetically modified salmon. Now Time magazine is weighing in.
This week's cover story, "The End of the Line" takes a hard look at the last wild food and how aquaculture may be its savior.
The UN reports that 32% of global fish stocks are either overexploited or depleted and up to 90% of large species are "fished-out".
Once common species like cod are almost extinct.
With this decline in stocks has come an upswing in demand for seafood. A growing middle class in developing countries across the planet are demanding high quality protein. The answer, according to the article, is in aquaculture.
Fish farming is hardly a new concept but it is in the last 50 years that it has really emerged as an industry. This industry is not without its controversies, however. Marine conservationists, while conceding the relief that farmed fish offers wild stocks, worry that open pen aquaculture inadvertently introduces disease and waste into the coastal waters used to raise the fish.
Recirculating aquaculture systems operating in farms such as Australis' barramundi operation in Massachusetts may end that debate. These systems attempt to replicate the natural life cycle of fish in a tank environment isolated from wild species and also managing the effluent created in the process.
In 2006, Australis used Octaform to build its tanks.
Click here to see how Octaform can create the ideal closed-containment environment for aquaculture.
The RAS model is not without its challenges, however. Some fish are better suited to it than others and most of the time it is more costly. Advances in technology are promising quicker yields and less environmental impact than open pen farming and although this has yet to be proven, projects are underway on both coasts of Canada (see here and here) to prove that closed containment technologies are a viable option from both an environmental and an economic perspective.
Ultimately, the article suggests, we may have little choice in the matter. With an exploding global need for high quality protein and a steadily depleting source, aquaculture will need to step up.
"...if we're all going to survive and thrive in a crowded world, we'll need to cultivate the seas just as we do the land. If we do it right, aquaculture can be one more step toward saving ourselves. And if we do it well, we may even enjoy the taste of it."
Read the full text of the Time Magazine feature here: "The End of the Line"
For more on Octaform aquaculture, click here.