Americans eat an average of 16 pounds of fish each year, and that number is growing. But how to meet our demand for fish is a controversial question, one that is entering a new chapter as the Environmental Protection Agency seeks to approve the nation’s only aquaculture pen in federal waters.
More than three years after the FDA approved, for the first time, a genetically engineered animal as safe to eat, the government opened the door for AquaBounty Technologies to grow and sell its GE salmon in the United States. A biotech trade group said the fish, which developers say grows twice as fast as as conventional Atlantic salmon on 25-percent less feed, will "contribute to a more sustainable food supply."
An effort is underway in upstate New York to bring back a native run of landlocked salmon, according to FERN’s latest story, with Adirondack Life magazine. The story, by Paul Greenberg, focuses on the work of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife specialist to stock the Boquet River in New York with salmon that will then spawn and migrate into Lake Champlain, which straddles the border of New York and Vermont.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in its 2018 report on The State of the World Fisheries and Aquaculture, says that fish consumption and fishing is expected to increase in the coming 15 years, though at a slower rate than in prior decades.
More than 100 organizations submitted a letter to members of Congress on Wednesday asking them to oppose ocean aquaculture. The letter was delivered as the looming renewal of the “fish bill,” the Magnuson-Stevens Act, reveals divides between the fishing industry and environmentalists, ocean advocates, and other stakeholders about the future of fisheries regulation.
An analysis of 60 global meat and fish producers found that 36 companies worth $136 billion were a "high risk" for investors, because they failed to address a range of sustainability issues including greenhouse gas emissions, animal welfare, antibiotics use, worker conditions, and food safety, said the Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR) Initiative.
After spending $40 million over 35 years, a California plan to restore wild stocks of white seabass has failed to produce much in the way of results, according to a study released this week. “The program had increased white seabass populations by less than 1 percent — a stunningly low success rate,” Clare Leschin-Hoar reports in FERN’s latest story, with NPR. (No paywall)
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.
Thanks to climate change, "marine waters, even far out in the high seas, are losing oxygen ... upending where and how sea creatures live," says National Geographic, citing a study in the journal Science. "The authors conclude that it’s emptying vast regions of the ocean, changing what and where creatures live and eat, threatening to shrink fish populations and individual fish, and making overfishing more likely."
The food chain off the coast of California is starting too look shorter and less diverse thanks to environmental events like El Niño and potentially climate change, say scientists who tracked the diets of dolphins.