A detrimental disconnect between farming land and sea
During this Tuesday’s SeafoodSource webinar on aquaculture, “Aquaculture’s Prominent Role in Feeding a Growing Global Population,” attendees saw some statistics that should get consumers thinking about farmed fish more positively.
Michael Tlusty, director of ocean sustainability science at the New England Aquarium and research faculty at
Throw greenhouse gas emissions into the equation when comparing the performances of aquatic versus land-based animal protein production, and fish becomes an even smarter selection. Cattle production releases about seven times as much carbon dioxide into the environment as does
Fish is simply the smarter choice for the future, given the growing protein needs for the planet and its rapidly escalating population, expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. Aquaculture, as we know, is not without its issues — disease, a finite resource for fish feed, investment capital and consumer education are all legitimate obstacles — but it holds far more promise for a sustainable future. Somehow, aquaculture seems to face far more scrutiny than livestock production from environmental groups and less acceptance from consumers. Why the disconnect?
That’s the first question I asked Neil Sims, co-founder of Kampachi Farms. Sims, who founded Kona Blue Water Farms more than a decade ago, listed a number of reasons, one of which is largely rooted in myth.
“The development of aquaculture happened at a moment in history when there’s more corporatization, a lot more commercialization, globalization, and it hit scale faster [than terrestrial agriculture]. The image that people have of terrestrial agriculture is
“Aquaculture does have a different lens through which it is assessed,” said Tlusty, adding that, in food systems in general, “everything stands to be improved.”
All food production impacts the environment, it’s the bottom line. The challenge facing the world’s food system is scaling up production without causing more harm to the environment — it’s the mantra of today’s aquaculture industry. Sims believes that farming the oceans is the best solution. Not only for the
“We need to be eating more seafood. If we’re having 3 billion people moving up to the middle class between now and