April 27, 2017

CLF Aquaculture Links: April 2017

Dave Love

Dave Love

Associate Scientist, Public Health & Sustainable Aquaculture Project

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Three seafood luminaries published a recent op-ed in The New York Times, opining about ways in which the proposed budget cuts to NOAA will affect domestic fisheries and aquaculture. They say “Aquaculture… will be crippled by President Trump’s budget cuts. The United States already ranks 17th in world aquaculture production, behind Myanmar. Yes, sad! Without NOAA, things would be even sadder.” Read more: New York Times.

Salmon raised in net pen farms are often plagued by sea lice, which can kill the fish, affect wild fish in surrounding areas, and hurt businesses. Farmers can either use antiparasitics to kill sea lice or use biological remedies like wrasse, a small fish that picks the pesky sea lice off of salmon skin. Wrasses are important links the in food chain, but in Norway, the world’s largest salmon producer, the reliance on wrasses—caught in the wild and transported to open water salmon farms—is hurting wild wrasse populations.  Read more about salmon farms’ unintended impacts on the environment at New Scientist.

Offshore finfish aquaculture is in the news again. Virginia Gewin wrote a long-form article for the Food and Environment Reporting Network (FERN) about offshore finfish aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico, and journalist Elizabeth Grossman covers the pros and cons of offshore finfish aquaculture in the Pacific Islands. Gewin’s piece covers a wide range of opinions on offshore aquaculture. One moderate view was Jack Kittinger of Conservation International who muses, “aquaculture is only going to grow, so how can we steer it in the right direction?” Some however, are more critical of offshore policy. Marcie Keever at Friends of the Earth objects to the permitting approach NOAA developed using laws designed to regulate wild capture fisheries, and calls it “polluting and privatizing the ocean.” Although the permitting process is in place in the Gulf of Mexico, we have yet to see a company test the waters and apply for a permit. Read more at FERN and Civil Eats.

Chef Barton Seaver, once adamantly opposed to aquaculture, is changing his tune. He was previously concerned about the environmental impacts of fish farming but now sees those impacts in relation to environmental impacts from other types of animal production. Seaver says, “if we compare seafood with terrestrial proteins… seafood is often the better environmental choice.” He also notes that aquaculture should be measured against the four pillars of sustainability: economy, environment, society and health. Read more at James Beard Foundation blog.

Brief Notes

An artist’s rendering of shifting diets caused by climate change and sea level rise leads to some beautiful and sustainable seafood dishes. Read more at NPR The Salt.

The EPA released their monthly Fish and Shellfish Program newsletter, which covers recreational fish advisories. Read more at EPA.

Check out the Q&A with writer Paul Greenberg who attempted a year-long pescatarian diet with very high seafood consumption. Read more more at Civil Eats.

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