One promise made about fish farming is that it will help feed the world and take pressure off of wild fish that are already in trouble due to overfishing. But what if fish farms themselves are harmful to wild fish?
The evidence that fish farms harm wild fish just got stronger, with a study that says wild salmon are in decline in the vicinity of fish farms.
This study seems compelling, and aquaculture proponents should take it seriously and provide some reasoned arguments rather than simply dismissing criticism.
I support aquaculture done right, and we need studies like this to help us figure out what it means to do aquaculture right. I will pay attention to this study, and look into the arguments of anyone who wants to disagree with the conclusion.
Of course we do need to be fair. Just as proponents of fish farming have gone too far, the critics of aquaculture have gone overboard by saying in simple terms that fish farming is bad.
Indeed, fish farms have been called "feedlots of the sea." And it's not just raving enviromaniacs who think fish farms are harmful, a billionaire part-owner of a fish-farming company has also drawn the link between fish farms and declining wild salmon.
Strangely enough, some critics of fish farming fail to criticize the eating of so-called "wild" fish produced from fish hatcheries--basically fish farms that only raise fish for half their life--even though hatcheries cause many of the same problems as fish farmed for their entire lives.
We're left with a muddle of views, and this week's study provides some evidence and analysis that may help clarify the risks and benefits of fish farming.