Previously we spoke about the harmful effects of overfishing caused by the demand for seafood. There are now regulations to monitor these activities and the fishery industry is keen to think of sustainable solutions. This led to aquaculture which is the practice of aquatic farming.
It is a controlled aquaculture production process of marine organisms used mainly for human consumption. Aquaculture involves the breeding, rearing and harvesting of fish, shrimp, algae and organisms that live in water environments. Think of agriculture and livestock, but for fish. At Bloom Aqua, we specialise in producing various species of fish and shrimp. Aquaculture is important because it gives time for wild fish to breed and replenish stocks for our seafood supply. This is critical with species that are threatened or endangered. It comes with huge potential because:
Currently, 50% of the fish we eat is farmed and this percentage is expected to grow.
There are four steps in the aquaculture production chain: Hatchery, farm, processing facility and food retailers.
It is important to note that although aquaculture is more sustainable than fishing, there is still room for improvement. The main disadvantages of aquaculture include:
Post-harvest fish losses contribute to the 1.3 billion tonnes of food waste per year. This is more common in small scale fisheries where workers are not as knowledgeable with technical aspects such as handling and processing procedures.
Offshore fish farming is prone to experience disease outbreaks. How offshore farming works is that the fish are farmed in the ocean whilst confined in open net-pens. Therefore, this confined area attracts a range of pathogens including: bacteria, viruses and parasites. The pathogens will multiply and if a farmed fish escapes it will pass the disease to wild fish.
Farmers use antibiotics to kill the pathogens which also pollute marine life. Sea lice parasites have shown increased resistance against parasiticides, prompting farmers to use stronger chemicals. To make matters worse, studies show that vaccines are not performing as effectively as required, resulting in fish loss and unnecessary pollution. Furthermore, it is found that farmed fish are also contaminated with dioxins, PCBs and have higher levels of mercury compared to wild fish.
Chemicals are not the only pollutants, fish faeces can also damage the seafloor and the organisms surrounding that area. Since there are a lot of fish contained within the net pen, we can only imagine how much fish waste is falling and building up directly below. What occurs in the ocean can be passed on outside, creating a chain effect. Take the disease outbreak for example, birds eat fish, the disease will pass onto bird predators and so forth. Another issue is escaped fish can act as an invasive species causing native wild fish to compete for food. All species should be protected as they play an important role in the ecosystem, food chain and food security.
We’ve learnt that whilst seafood provides consumers with the desired animal protein, aquaculture harvesting as it is now attracts environmental concerns.
At Bloom Aqua we recognise the importance of sustainability and are helping the aquaculture industry steadily reduce its environmental footprint. We offer consulting services to help your project achieve maximum potential as well as Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) technology. RAS has many advantages over traditional aquaculture production methods. It is sustainable, cost effective, not dependent on geographic location and is scalable to support business growth. We are eager to help you discover the best solutions for your business. Contact us today!
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