Hello my name is Miss Gillingham. Please join me as I travel to Greece to study the dolphins of the Amvrakikos Gulf!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fish Farms


As I posted earlier, and what seems to be common sense, fish our nonrenewable, once we run out that's it. We have seen this in the past in areas like Newfoundland, born and bred on fishing, when the Canadian government had to halt large fishing enterprises in 1992 for lack of fish. We see this currently across the world in places like Scotland, China, British Columbia (Canada)and Norway to name just a few. We even can see this in our supermarkets that now label if the fish was caught in the wild or in fish farms.

From the past post, creating fish farms probably seems like a good idea as wild fishing by Purse Steiners and Bottom Trawlers catch far more than the seas can handle. Perhaps by breeding fish in controlled 'farms' we wouldn't over catch or harm any other wildlife, like dolphins or turtles, that can get caught in nets? After all most of our meat comes from farms. But do you know of any problems or concerns with farming? What about the reason behind going organic? Why are so many people preferring organic food?

The reality (as I've come to learn) is that fish farms, though perhaps a good idea in practise, are causing more harm than good at the moment. The most shocking fact for me is that the fish people most like to eat e.g. salmon, tuna, need to eat other fish to survive (they are carnivores)so where do you think these other fish come from? That's right the sea. For every 0.5 kg (1 lb) approximately 1.5 kg (3 lbs) of fish are needed to feed them. Does this make sense to you as I'm a bit confused? To save the fish population we need to catch more fish? Hmmm.

Another concern is the same that happens in other farms: disease. Fish in tight pools, with little space to move, can catch diseases therefore antibiotics are needed. So now fish farms not only need more fish but they also need antibiotics? What about the fact that like chicken for example, some fish are 'genetically modified' in fish farms so they can grow bigger faster? How is adding all of these chemicals good for our health?

Lastly, there are many cases where the 'pools' break and the fish get out into the wild. Can you guess what would happen? They need to eat too.

Are you following any of this? So fish which are suppose to be healthy for us are now full of chemicals and they need more fish to eat which is reducing smaller fish populations anyways. Have I lost the good point of fish farms?

Now I don't want to sound all doom and gloom because actually fish farms could be a good idea. China has found a way to harvest fish like Carp and Tilapia which are herbivores (eat plants) or omnivores (which can eat either plants or animals) and therefore they do not need more fish to survive. The problem is people don't tend to favour these types of fish. I'm also sure that other fish farms are working on safer options as well but I suppose the point is why go through all of this effort? Couldn't we just support our small scale fisherman? The ones that fish sustainably and not target fish populations at risk? It seems to makes sense; why keep trying to put a plaster on the problem when we can just work on not falling down?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Miss Gillingham, What a fantastic blog! All sorts of things I've never thought of before. I was wondering why fish farms were wrong (after reading your demise of the oceans piece). Its because of antibiotics and the need to fish more in order to feed the fish (ironic!)The only thing I was thinking is that, I live on a Beef farm in Ireland, and I think there are comparisons to be made. Just as fish farms would have to use chemicals and antibiotics, we need to use antibotics too but, the thing is, there are very strict 'withdrawal' times for drugs. So a set number of weeks need to pass before an animal could be allowed into the human food chain (so allow the drugs to have left an animals system). This is true of all farms. Dairy farmers who break the rules and pollute the milk they send off in tankers by not having waited long enough between giving a drug before milking the cow have to pay for the whole lorry load of milk (thousands of euros) as it is scrapped/ useless if found to contain the antibiotics. Organic farmers also use antibiotics (because it would be a welfare issue not to treat illnes) but they have double the withdrawal time. Could similar rules not make fish farms work? (and do they already have them?) I do think the 'fishing more to feed the fish' part is crazy in terms of sustainability. It would be like us raising cattle to feed the cattle (thankfully cows are herbivores!)Anyway, thank you I understand why fish farms might not be the answer they seem now.