Aquaculture Is Dirty, Unsustainable and Inefficient. So Why Is the UN Pushing It?
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released a report last week predicting world aquaculture production to increase 33 percent by 2021, with 89 percent of aquaculture products coming from Asia (61 percent for China alone).
At Food & Water Watch, we have long opposed the expansion of the agricultural factory food model into our oceans. Aquaculture is a dirty, unsustainable model of food production that yields an inferior product for consumers while simultaneously leaving behind an indelible footprint on the surrounding ecosystem. Yet the FAO and our fisheries managers continue to promote aquaculture as if it were a sustainable and effective way to feed the world.
The expansion of aquaculture means more waste, more chemicals, and more antibiotics being dumped directly into our waters to raise fish. It means more imported seafood with residues of unapproved drugs entering the country through our weak food safety system. It means more small bait fish, a key component of a healthy marine ecosystem, will be scooped from the oceans and ground into feed in order to feed these farm-raised fish. It also means the expansion of our already dominant GE soy industry, which genetically modified 93 to 94 percent of its soybeans in 2009 according to Monsanto patents, to create unnatural diets for fish farms.
If the FAO is right, by 2018, half of the fish eaten in the world will be from aquaculture facilities. I know I’ll still be looking for wild, local, and sustainably caught seafood in my grocery store. With all of the risk factors and harmful practices related to factory fish farms, why take the risk?