Farmed fish consumption at record high, UN report reveals

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High hopes for fishing hitting sustainable levels as rise in aquaculture decreases over-exploitation of wild stocks.

Humans have never eaten so much fish and other seafood, but nearly half of it is no longer caught wild but is grown in farms, says the United Nations.

New figures from the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) suggest while around 80m tonnes of fish were caught "wild" in 2011-12, global aquaculture production set another all-time high at more than 90 million tonnes, including nearly 24 million tonnes of edible plants like seaweeds.

In total, the world harvested an extra 10m tonnes of aquatic food in 2012 compared to the previous year, says the report.

"Fish farming holds tremendous promise in responding to surging demand for food which is taking place due to global population growth," the report says.

But the UN was upbeat on global fish stocks, identifying a marginal decrease from 30% to 28.8% in the over-exploitation of the stocks which it assessed.

"71.2% of the fish stocks are being fished within biologically sustainable levels. Of these, fully-fished stocks – meaning those at or very close to their maximum sustainable production – account for over 60% and underfished stocks about 10%", said a spokesman. "This is a reversal in [the] trend observed during the past few years, a positive sign in the right direction."

But the authors warned that the burgeoning fish farming industry needs to become far less dependent on wild fish for feed and should rear many different species to avoid wastage. Small-sized species, they say, "can be an excellent source of essential minerals when consumed whole. However, consumer preferences have seen a switch towards larger farmed species whose bones and heads are often discarded."

Written By: John Vidal
continue to source article at theguardian.com

13 COMMENTS

  1. As I sat by the Lochside at sunset on holiday last summer in the Scottish Highlands – a fishing local from the town informed me that the salmon in the Loch’s fish farms are more susceptible to sea lice than wild fish, which is an indication that farmed fish’s natural health and vitality is significantly weakened by being kept un naturally corralled ………the large farmed fish were jumping clear out of the water in the loch and making loud splashes ….the local said they were trying to remove skin parasites….I asked him which restaurant sells Wild Salmon…..

    • In reply to #1 by Light Wave:

      As I sat by the Lochside at sunset on holiday last summer in the Scottish Highlands – a fishing local from the town informed me that the salmon in the Loch’s fish farms are more susceptible to sea lice than wild fish, which is an indication that farmed fish’s natural health and vitality is significa…

      Nice anecdote, do you have any studies to back up the various claims? Should we avoid farmed fish or old men’s stories?

      • In reply to #3 by alaskansee:

        In reply to #1 by Light Wave:

        As I sat by the Lochside at sunset on holiday last summer in the Scottish Highlands – a fishing local from the town informed me that the salmon in the Loch’s fish farms are more susceptible to sea lice than wild fish, which is an indication that farmed fish’s natural h…

        Its not an anecdote it actually happened just like I said…why the hell would I have a study…I was on holiday….what are you – A Fish Farmer by any chance ?…You find any evidence that its false and I’ll eat the farm fish
        You avoid what you like and I’ll eat wild Salmon…..

        • In reply to #7 by Light Wave:

          In reply to #3 by alaskansee:

          In reply to #1 by Light Wave:

          As I sat by the Lochside at sunset on holiday last summer in the Scottish Highlands – a fishing local from the town informed me that the salmon in the Loch’s fish farms are more susceptible to sea lice than wild fish, which is an indicati…

          So asking for clarification on your comment was too much? Remember if you don’t want a converstaion you don’t need to post.

          I was however mocking your anecdote, if you don’t understand why, I am truly surprised and disappointed.

          The plural of anecdote is not evidence let alone a solitary fishing story, I was just asking if you had anything constructive to say that may inform my ignorance of the evil fish farmers. Comments here normally aren’t so dismissive or lacking in any evidence, PY’s response was more informative and he was furious.

          Sorry you have nothing to add, my fish farm knowledge remains lacking and you’re not the right person to ask. My ignorance of fish farming is based on my dislike of fish I thought you might have something to say. How you got Fish Farmer out of my lack of knowledge is worrying, try to use facts and don’t be disappointed if someone whats to see them.

          • In reply to #10 by alaskansee:

            In reply to #7 by Light Wave:

            In reply to #3 by alaskansee:

            In reply to #1 by Light Wave:

            Pretty sure I answered your prejudiced point…..you are the one commentor who is taking the opposite stance to the rest on this article…so perhaps you should come up with real evidence that states fish farming is just great and healthy….
            meanwhile I will comment on ‘articles’ and only answer the people who actually want to discuss and not put everyone else down….you sound so defensive like you have a vested interest…what are people supposed to think about your repeated counter reaction…..

            >

      • In reply to #3 by alaskansee:

        In reply to #1 by Light Wave:

        Incidentally he wasn’t an old man and he lived, worked and fished on the Loch all his life….Do what you will with that information…I’m not telling anyone to eat anything but I’m stating what I’d prefer….

        • In reply to #8 by Light Wave:

          In reply to #3 by alaskansee:

          In reply to #1 by Light Wave:

          Incidentally he wasn’t an old man and he lived, worked and fished on the Loch all his life….Do what you will with that information…I’m not telling anyone to eat anything but I’m stating what I’d prefer….

          I think that’s called JAQing off, like Joe Rogan.

  2. This paradigm shift makes be want to barf. Great, we are solving the world’s food-fish problems by farming them. Too bad we killed off all the natural ones, that’s just the way it goes. This is the new reality? I am supposed to accept the decimation of one of the greatest natural resources in existence (and not just for humans) because its ‘working’. Are we to just accept this new status quo as a benefit, a solution to what we have done? I don’t accept it … it’s just another notch in the destruction of the planet by humans. We get to eat crap fish fed by billions of tons of biomass that the natural fish need, further damaging the natural order. We have a pretty reasonable idea what will happen when a fishery collapses.

    What a grotesque, unimaginable joke it is to think this is a good thing.

    • In reply to #2 by PY:

      This paradigm shift makes be want to barf. Great, we are solving the world’s food-fish problems by farming them.

      Wouldn’t that solve the problem we have? What is wrong with farming fish, specifically?

      Too bad we killed off all the natural ones, that’s just the way it goes. This is the new reality?

      Well no, fish farming is trying to change the problem that we have created – a solution if you like. I feel like you may have some as yet unrevealed criticism about the way the problem is being addressed but you can’t complain about the solution and say no one is doing anything. Remember what you were complaining about?

      I am supposed to accept the decimation of one of the greatest natural resources in existence (and not just for humans) because its ‘working’.

      You don’t have to accept anything you can find a solution yourself in addition to the many others that are in place and being tried out now. Unfortunately the problem is probably worse that you imagine we have certainly lost more than 1 in 10 of many species.

      Are we to just accept this new status quo as a benefit, a solution to what we have done? I don’t accept it … it’s just another notch in the destruction of the planet by humans. We get to eat crap fish fed by billions of tons of biomass that the natural fish need, further damaging the natural order.

      I can’t imagine why you see the increase in fish farming as a status quo, I’m sure the farmers want to do more and indeed I can’t think of anyone that wants the wild fish population not to increase in number? Again what status quo? As far as I can see you have a great deal of passion on the subject, you are just the sort of person who needs to do something to help the fishes, go for it! I am however completely confused as to you complaint other than the farmers may be using food the wild fish need?

      Is this correct? Is that the problem, I just don’t understand why they would do that and if we are eating fish that eat the same food as the other fish why are they not just fish?

      We have a pretty reasonable idea what will happen when a fishery collapses.

      Yes, must do something!

      What a grotesque, unimaginable joke it is to think this is a good thing.

      Still like some clarification on the grotesque issue thought, are you getting at population control or eating insects?

      • Fish farming has been well covered and documented as causing a wide range of negative impacts such as sea lice, putting chemicals in the environment, disease that may be transferred to wild fish, algae blooms, marine mammal deaths, marine debris, waste on the ocean floor, escapes and fish feed (1.5 – 8 kilograms of wild fish are needed to produce one kilogram of farmed salmon). There are First Nation problems, health concerns with the farmed fish (more toxins) and risks of destroying a multi-million dollar industry that is based on the health of wild fish.

        My criticism is that the fish farming industry… at least in the case of wild salmon on the west coast of Canada… could cause the decimation of the original wild stocks they are farming next to, that the fish produced are not worth it and are possibly unhealthy (you eat them then), and that some of these the fish farming corporations are multinationals damaging the natural environment in a country they do not reside in. Several of them can’t do this same business in the countries where they originate because their laws do not allow it. Shame on ours, we are selling out our natural heritage under the fake corporate flag of profit and jobs. Its greed.

        Fish farming in open waters with original species present is a clear and present danger to the natural order of the environment and, as such, is grotesque. The article was written as if it were a solution, and it is clearly not that.

        Finally, this has nothing to do with eating insects.

        In reply to #4 by alaskansee:

        In reply to #2 by PY:

        This paradigm shift makes be want to barf. Great, we are solving the world’s food-fish problems by farming them.

        Wouldn’t that solve the problem we have? What is wrong with farming fish, specifically?

        Too bad we killed off all the natural ones, that’s just the way it goes. T…

        • In reply to #5 by PY:

          Fish farming has been well covered and documented as causing a wide range of negative impacts such as sea lice, putting chemicals in the environment, disease that may be transferred to wild fish, algae blooms, marine mammal deaths, marine debris, waste on the ocean floor, escapes and fish feed (1.5…

          Thanks, your first post was so, let’s say “passonate” that I had NO idea what you were complaining about. In the future focusing on what your complaint is will certainly make it easier, for me at least.

          However I am still worried about some of the logic and words used. Everything is made of chemicals, the only things that are in the environment are chemicals, water is a very useful chemical and I hear essential in any fish related activities. It is also toxic, perhaps not to fish but it is to us. Asking for toxic chemicals to be removed from anything is impossible, toxicity is a quantity not a single thing, try living without heavy metals and you won’t be so cheerful.

          So please try to find language that doesn’t make you look furious or completely ignorant of what you are talking about. As emotional as you are it’s not helping your point, unfortunately to complain properly it takes some work. Calling someone with passion…

  3. About 1/2 of the “farmed fish” we consume come from poor Asian countries where they overuse antibiotics, artificially color the fish and even use human sewerage to grow algae as food. Farmed fish have almost none of the healthy fats that wild fish contain.

  4. In reply to #10 by alaskansee:

    In reply to #7 by Light Wave:

    In reply to #3 by alaskansee:

    In reply to #1 by Light Wave:

    I see Alaskansee you like to play devils advocate on a few articles, so here is an interesting link that may or may not have all the answers that you required…..fish farms

    Now in future I require a scientific article from you to back up all the points you make …..that would be fair……

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