A large proportion of the fish eaten today comes from aquaculture. Even though in some places certain forms of aquaculture can provide a significant food source for local populations, they must always be developed responsibly.
All too often, intensive fish farms have a negative social and environmental impact. Ecosystems are destroyed and polluted with fecal mater, species are genetically manipulated, wild species are threatened, exotic species introduced, antibiotics and disinfectants used intensively, local communities devastated and so on.
Seen from this perspective, instead of reducing pressure on wild species, aquaculture increases it. Just like the farming of chickens, pigs or cows, fish farming must return to less intensive and more responsible methods that respect local ecosystems. The “blue revolution,” as the growth of aquaculture is sometimes termed, must become green.
Until a certification system is put in place, fishmongers and restaurateurs must guarantee the responsible nature of the farms that have produced their fish. Consumers must find out about the quality of farmed products before buying them.
The Shocking Truth About Shrimp
The case of farmed shrimp offers one of the clearest examples of the disastrous effects of industrial aquaculture in the age of globalization.
Generally the farming of mollusks is considered sustainable, as little human intervention is required to feed them. The FAO recommends that they are not farmed in polluted waters, as filtering mollusks such as mussels and clams can ingest bacteria and biotoxins and concentrate them in their digestive systems.
Additionally, intensive farms can have a negative impact on the coastal environment, particularly on marine predators, while the introduction of exotic species can bring further problems.