Since the 1980s, as rising seas and storm surges started pushing saltwater through the banks of tidal rivers and ruining their crops, rice farmers in Bangladesh, backed by the government, began shifting to shrimp farming. As Stephen Robert Miller writes in FERN’s latest story, published with The Guardian, “It was a way to adapt, and for a while it worked. Commercial shrimp, known as ‘white gold,’ has become one of the country’s most valuable export commodities.” (No paywall)
A proposal by a Norwegian-owned company to build two massive salmon farms in the middle of a pristine bay next to Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine, has the community in revolt over fears that they will foul the water and ruin the local fishing and shellfish industries.(No paywall)
Environmental advocates, fishermen, and residents of several states on the Gulf of Mexico appeared at a virtual hearing on Wednesday protesting a bill and other measures to expand ocean aquaculture. Under the new legislation, which is looking to settle a long-running debate over the future of aquaculture in the United States, fish farming would be allowed in federal waters.
As the coronavirus pandemic ravages the meatpacking sector, the Trump administration late last week made a major announcement about another essential food industry: seafood. With a late-afternoon executive order, the administration laid out a pathway for the approval of ocean aquaculture in federal waters, a controversial departure from existing policy that could reshape the country’s seafood production.(No paywall)
The city commissioners of Sarasota, Florida, decided Monday to send a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency opposing an aquaculture pilot project that sought to farm fish about 45 miles off the city's coast. In the letter, signed by Sarasota mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch, the commissioners file "strong and formal opposition" to the project.
In April, at a smelting factory in Arctic Norway, the world’s largest photobioreactor will begin churning out fish feed grown on pollution. The feed, or microalgae, will provide a critical source of omega oils for prized Norwegian farmed salmon, while digesting carbon dioxide from industrial smoke piped through the bioreactor, says Hans-Christian Eilertsen, a marine biologist with the Arctic University of Norway.
In a major new statement about the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture, the World Health Organization is urging livestock agriculture and fish farming worldwide to sharply cut antibiotic use, reserving the precious drugs for animals that are sick and then choosing only antibiotics that are not important to human medicine. (No paywall)
With salmon prices rising around the world, Japan and Norway are using state-of-the-art technology for two huge offshore aquaculture projects in a effort to boost salmon supply while avoiding the problems that plague coastal fish farms, reports Japan Times.
Writer Paul Greenberg set out to eat three meals a day of fish for a year. Now he’s revealing what happened to his health and his views on sustainable fisheries on a special edition of PBS’ Frontline. “Almost half the fish and shellfish consumed in the world is now farmed — is that helpful or harmful?” asks Greenberg, who is currently a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation and has written for FERN, including a piece called the “Fisherman’s Dilemma,” about a radical effort to protect California's fisheries.
The price of farmed Atlantic salmon is on the rise because of "one tiny, nefarious little creature," the sea louse, a parasitic crustacean about the size of an aspirin tablet that feeds on salmon, says Quartz. There were acute infestations in Scottish and Norwegian fish farms last year and Norwegian exports dropped 5 percent.
Eight of the biggest seafood companies in the world pledged to report and reduce illegal catches and root out endangered species from their supply chain, says Reuters. The firms also promised to end slave labor and reduce antibiotics in aquaculture.
Biotech startup New Wave Foods is selling "prawns" made from algae and plant ingredients, says The Guardian. “We’ve done a few blind taste tests—unofficially, you know—and until we tell people it’s made of plants and algae they can’t tell,” says the company’s CEO, Dominique Barnes, who has a background in marine conservation. Even the executive chef at Google was so impressed when he tried the product that he ordered 200 pounds.
Even as China’s coal-fueled factories belch toxic smoke, the biggest abuse on China’s environment comes from agriculture, says Time. The country is trying to solve the problem with some of the most radical changes to its agricultural policy since Mao Zedong forced the People’s Republic onto collective farms in the late 1950s—and 30 million people died of starvation as a result.
Farmers in the arid Southwest are turning to aquaponics, an indoor system that combines hydroponics with fish farming to conserve water and use fish excrement to nourish plants, according to The Guardian.
U.S. fish farms are producing only one-quarter as many catfish this year as they did when the industry peaked in 2002, according to USDA data. The decline has been blamed on higher feed costs, a change in consumer tastes, and imports from Asia.
A federal appeals court in Chile has ruled that the country’s salmon farmers have to disclose their level of antibiotic use, says Reuters. The international environmental group Oceana filed the claim for transparency in 2014, when Chilean salmon producers upped their antibiotic use by 25 percent in order to fight off a devastating bacteria known as SRS or Piscirickettsiosis.
For Huey Johnson, the "grand old man" of environmentalists in California, "the idea of rearing salmon in fallowed rice fields started in a duck blind," says Yale e360. Surrounded by acres of flooded fields, Johnson wondered what could be done with all the water. "His answer: Grow fish."
Production from fish farms will grow by as much as 4.14 percent annually through 2022 - faster than a forecast made earlier this year - and offering a chance of better nutrition for millions of people, especially in Africa and Asia, said a report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Fish farmers will need to double production of finfish and shellfish by 2050 to meet projected demand for fish, says a report by the World Resources Institute.