Magazine article USA TODAY

Pros and Cons of Fish Farming

Magazine article USA TODAY

Pros and Cons of Fish Farming

Article excerpt

The world is dependent on fish farms. In fact, one out of every four fish consumed worldwide has been raised on a farm. The irony is that fish farming, or aquaculture, while helping to feed a growing human population, often comes at a surprising cost to wild fish populations.

"A lot of countries could use more protein, and aquaculture is a good way to get there," indicates Rosamond Naylor, an economist at the Stanford (Calif.) Institute for International Studies. The problem, she points out, is that farmed salmon, shrimp, and other carnivorous species often take more out of the oceans than they keep in. That's because certain farmed fish are given processed feed made from wild catches of herring, mackerel, sardine, and other varieties. Naylor estimates that nearly two pounds of wild fish are required for every pound of farmed fish raised on processed meal.

While, on balance, aquaculture still adds to the world's supply of seafood, fish farming often influences wild populations--displacing natural breeding habitats, spreading disease, and polluting the oceans in many ways that haven't been measured. …

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