Thursday, April 3, 2008

Doom and Gloom

I hope that any readers of this blog will not take the last few posts as any indicator of the general tone I would like to portray. That being said there is definitely some reason for concern when it comes to seafood, its sustainability, and the future of the oceans. I for one have faith that together the industry, and humans will do the right thing. It will take some time for the public to get the message, and be the right kind of driving force.

The future is aquaculture, but aquaculture done right. For so many years and just as many news articles the public has been fed a steady diet of the failures and problems of aquaculture, and the greatness of wild fish. Of course there is always some truth, and I am not going to argue that farmed salmon is the best thing since sliced bread, but I doubt that it has more impact on the environment than conventional land based meat production.

At least the industry is having the conversation, and some farms are doing things to lessen the impact. One example is the Scottish salmon producer Loch Duart. In speaking recently to the U.S. distributor Clean Fish they informed me that they would start a program to raise sea urchin below the salmon's sea cages. Not only would this provide some level of refuse abatement, but it also diversifies and brings us another product to market.

In addition land based operations like Australis, and there farmed barramundi is a good example of how to do aquaculture right. They even get shining reviews from Monterey Bay Aquarium, a leader in providing good information about sustainability.

One real hurdle remains because we eat mostly carnivorous fish, and that could be a real problem for wild stocks, since the majority of protein for these fish comes from small bait fish like herring and menhaden.

So if you are a consumer, or a concerned chef be sure to ask your fishmonger what you can do to help.

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