Future of Fish in the NYT

It’s taking me a while to catch up on my reading at the moment, but Mark Bittman’s overview of the decline of fish is worth a look. From Bittman:

Industrial aquaculture — sometimes called the blue revolution — is following the same pattern as land-based agriculture. Edible food is being used to grow animals rather than nourish people.

This is not to say that all aquaculture is bad. China alone accounts for an estimated 70 percent of the world’s aquaculture — where it is small in scale, focuses on herbivorous fish and is not only sustainable but environmentally sound. “Throughout Asia, there are hundreds of thousands of small farmers making a living by farming fish,” said Barry Costa-Pierce, professor of fisheries at University of Rhode Island.

But industrial fish farming is a different story. The industry spends an estimated $1 billion a year on veterinary products; degrades the land (shrimp farming destroys mangroves, for example, a key protector from typhoons); pollutes local waters (according to a recent report by the Worldwatch Institute, a salmon farm with 200,000 fish releases nutrients and fecal matter roughly equivalent to as many as 60,000 people); and imperils wild populations that come in contact with farmed salmon.

Originally, Last Appetite was going to be about the collapse of fish. Maybe I should revisit that when the fish stocks that have already collapsed hit 50%. Which is possibly now.

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