Farmed Fish: To Eat or Not To Eat?

Agriculture rules over our diet from fruits and vegetables to beef and chicken. Though agriculture can be amazing, there can be things to watch for specifically in aquaculture (agriculture of seafoods). Industrial Ocean Fish Farming can cause many issues for the oceanic environment, public health, and society.

“This allows for free exchange between the net pens and the open water, including direct deposits of untreated fish waste, diseases and parasites, excess feed, agricultural drug residues, chemicals and anti-foulants from the farm’s infrastructure, and oftentimes spills and escapes of farmed fish,” the authors of ‘The Dangers of Industrial Ocean Fish Farming’ explained.

There are kinds of aquaculture that are far less prone to pollution than others. For example, on land fish farming is significantly safer than in ocean fish farming, as long as the sewage from the farm is being treated before it reaches the open water. Industrial Ocean Fish Farming leads to much more risk due to the open exchange between water in the farm and the surrounding ocean. Oftentimes there is not a strong current near these farms which can lead to the fish waste and left over food simply caking onto the ocean floor. Alongside the waste many of the chemicals that are used to fight disease, parasites, and other potential threats to the fish, can settle into the sediments on the ocean floor. The dangers of not using these chemicals however can lead to the infection of not only the farmed fish but any fish nearby as well. Infected fish in open water can affect many other larger species through the food chain, this is also what makes escapes of farmed fish so dangerous.

While this method of farming creates many dangers for the environment there are also dangers for public health. Farmed fish have been shown to contain toxins that have been proven to cause cancer, many different reproductive issues, and other physical issues in humans. This is an issue because fish is more than 16% of consumed protein in an average diet. Some healthier options are fish that is caught in open water or shellfish. It is important to know the risks you are putting yourself and the environment in when making food choices.



Seafood Watch

'The Dangers of Ocean Industrial Fish Farming' Website Page and PDF

'What Problems Are There With Fish Farms (Aquaculture)? by Judith Weis' Youtube Video

Image Sources

Above Water Fish Farm Photo

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