Aquaculture, also known as fish farming, was hailed as a solution to the rapidly declining fish stocks around the globe. So many of us love to eat fish and enjoy its health benefits, as well as yummy taste. However, it seemed that fishing was a pursuit suitable to a bygone era and not one able to satisfy a world with a population of seven billion people. Fishing by capture was, and still is, wiping out fish stocks in return for short term profits. Fish farming was seen to be the answer to that problem.
Fish farming: the adult chat we need to have about eco and human health sees a few bumps in the road ahead. Fish farms are great for business, profits and efficiency – but are they good for human health and the environment? There have been repeated issues involving contamination, massive uses of antibiotics, pesticides and hormones in the aquaculture business. Fish, let’s face it, were not designed to be farmed; and crowding fish together creates stress and lots of shit. Fish farmers deal with this by adding chemicals to the mix and so there are numerous health issues with farmed fish. The more antibiotics we put into the food chain, the more problems we have with drug resistant bacteria in our health system.
Environmentalists are, generally, heavily against aquaculture because of its potential affect on wild fish stocks through contamination and its use of potentially toxic chemical in the eco system. They, of course, would have us all eating tofu and other soy products; which have health risks of their own. I see, fish farming going through a learning and development phase; as all types of farming have over the centuries. Industries need time to evolve and innovate toward best practice; but in the meantime aquaculture must be closely monitored by government agencies to protect human health and the environment. The vegan vegetarians cannot have it all their own way, we need to feed the planet and we need to manage sustainable fishing around the globe. Aquaculture has its place in the bigger scheme of things; it needs time to innovate and improve.
Environmentalists, ultimately, want to control and reduce the world’s population, so that they can enjoy their solitary fantasy of a bit of whale watching on a lonely shore. The reality is that the world is a teeming place full of hungry human beings; and watching wildlife in contemplation is not going to get the job done.