In the Bering Sea, Native Alaskans are losing the fight for halibut, up against factory ships that throw away more of the valuable fish than the the long-line fishers are allowed to catch, Miranda Weiss reports in FERN's latest story, produced in collaboration with National Geographic. No paywall
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)
Leaders in southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay — source of nearly half the world’s sockeye salmon and a $1.5 billion industry — this week asked Alaska Gov. Michael Dunleavy to shut down the fishery to protect public health. (No paywall)
As the spread of the novel coronavirus disrupts business as usual across the country, food producers of all kinds are turning to the government for the help they say they need to stay afloat through the pandemic. From fishermen to produce growers to brewers, companies and organizations are lining up for federal aid as policymakers argue about the coming stimulus for small businesses.(No paywall)
While overfishing no longer threatens U.S. fisheries, other pressing sustainability issues, such as finfish aquaculture and consolidation, top the list of concerns among fishers and fisheries experts, according to panelists who spoke at FERN Talks and Eats in New York City on Monday.(No paywall)
Several key strategies must be implemented if there is any hope for sustainable fisheries in our rapidly warming oceans, says a new report from the Environmental Defense Fund. The report’s release coincides with COP25, a global climate conference being held this week in Madrid.
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.
Officials in California and Oregon are calling on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries division to release emergency funding after salmon fisheries were closed in both states.
Criminals don't come more colorful than Carlos Rafael, once the most powerful fisherman in the nation’s most valuable seafood port. Rafael, who was the subject of a FERN story published earlier this year with Mother Jones, was known widely as the Codfather. He conquered the fishing industry in New Bedford, Mass., through a combination of guile and rule-bending; he famously described himself as a pirate, and told regulators it was their job to catch him. On Monday, the law finally caught up to the Codfather: A federal judge sentenced Rafael to 46 months in prison for masterminding one of the biggest fisheries frauds in American history. (No paywall)
More than a third of migrant fishermen working in Thailand over the past five years have been victims of trafficking, and three-quarters of them have been in “debt bondage, working to pay off an obligation,” said Reuters, citing a new study by the anti-trafficking group International Justice Mission.