Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fish Farm Concerns

Over 50% of global fish consumption now comes from fish farms. Aquaculture has become big business.

The tremendous growth is attributed to declining fish stocks and a global interest in the health benefits of eating fish. One observer said, "As long as we are a health-conscious population trying to get our most healthy oils from fish, we are going to be demanding more of aquaculture and putting a lot of pressure on marine fisheries to meet that need."

However, the practice carries some dangers including water pollution from the discharge of antibiotics and chemicals used to fight parasites, introducing non-native species which may escape, and using wild fish as feed.

In order to maximize growth and enhance flavor, aquaculture farms use large quantities of fishmeal and fish oil made from less valuable wild-caught species, including anchovies and sardine. In fact, 88 percent of global fish oil consumption goes to aquacultures.

Concern has also been expressed regarding the tremendous growth in the industry in China and other Asian countries where environmental standards are not as stringent.

How important is fish consumption for you? What is the answer for dwindling wild fish reserves?