Fish farming – aquaculture – has taken hold as a major new industry in the world , and in this period of an ever-expanding global market, it promises to continue growing. But there are some important issues to consider when we buy farmed fish for consumption. The foremost question on my mind is “Is this a sustainable industry? Do the inputs (feed, habitat set aside for farms, etc.) equal the outputs (the amount of fish that eventually goes to market)? A second question is “Is farmed fish as healthy as wild-caught fish?” Finally, “What is the cost to the environment?”
Time magazine recently weighed in on some of these issues and uncovered the following facts:
Nearly 40% of all fish consumed worldwide comes from aquaculture.
The industry has grown 9% per year since 1975 and demand for species such as salmon, tuna and shrimp has doubled since then.
To produce 1 kilogram of high-protein fish food that is fed to ocean-bred, farmed fish, it takes 4.5 kilograms of smaller fish.