Thursday, September 18, 2008

Aquaculture: the key to true "sustainable" seafood

I was having a discussion with some people the other night about marine conservation issues and commercial overfishing. These folks were quite convinced that even sticking with "sustainable seafood species" was ultimately a lost cause - by removing fish without giving something back, you are upsetting the natural marine order and depletion of any species is inevitable.

That may or may not be true in every case, but it certainly is one reason why I support the aquaculture or aquafarming efforts taking place around the world. The logic behind these activities is pretty simple: we are giving something back.
  • We raise cattle to insure we have a supply of beef.
  • We raise chickens to insure we have a supply of poultry.
  • And we do the same for fruits and vegetables.
But when it comes to the sea, for centuries we have just taken. Aquaculture can reverse that approach. But it's not without its challenges. Whether on land or at sea, there are issues of potential pollution from feed or animal waste, introduction of diseases or parasites, logistical challenges because of the required size of the facilities, and so on.

These are challenges that must be conquered and there are some definite strides being made. I have mentioned some in past postings regarding the Indian Ocean's bluefin tuna, Chesapeake Bay's blue crab, and more. I would strongly recommend that you support the companies and organizations involved in aquaculture. As the demand for seafood increases, it's the only logical answer.

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