Can aquaculture be sustainable, or not? Widely touted as an alternative,
I've always been a bit skeptical, but willing to take a look. I think it
depends on system scale, and whether the whole system is being well
managed. Rice paddy acquaculture might be one thing, and confinement
catfish or salmon might be something else.
For grasping the idea of holism, nothing works for me like the example of
ocean fishery. The fish swim around freely, bio-converting the energy from
a vast solar collector - the sea. At times and places (such as the
aboriginal Pacific Northwest), the fish congregate where folks have learned
to harvest them. That is where the human part of the system cycle begins
to fail, with globalization, as the harvest products (wastes as well as
costs and benefits) are (mal)distributed.
Here's a thought: managing the ocean fishery is a challenge analogous to
managing grassland with herbivores, with grazing or with feed lots. A lot
of human effort and energy is conserved when we work with the natural
characteristics of grazers like salmon and cows.
At 11:51 AM 6/29/00 -0700, Grist Magazine wrote:
>Commercial fish farming has been touted as a way to take pressure off
>stocks of wild fish, but in fact it has had the opposite effect,
>according to a study in today's issue of the journal Nature. Fish
>farming, or aquaculture, has raised demand for ocean fish such as
>mackerel and anchovies that are ground into meal to feed farm fish.
>For every pound of farm salmon produced, two to five times that
>amount of ocean fish are caught to feed them, say the authors of the
>study. Fish farming also pollutes coastal areas with large amounts
>of animal waste. And some domesticated fish have escaped from
>offshore holding cages and displaced their smaller, wild relatives.
>Aquaculture has grown dramatically over the past 25 years, and
>commercial fish farms now produce about one-third of all the fish
>straight to the source: Anchorage Daily News, Associated Press, Rick
>straight to the source: Toronto Globe and Mail, Rod Mickleburgh, 06.29.00
>read it in Grist Magazine: Old McDonald Had a Fish, by Richard Manning
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