Authors defend the environmental, economic merits of offshore fish farming
A new open-access paper released in the journal Reviews in Fisheries Science & Aquaculture refutes prevalent criticisms about marine aquaculture and what it calls “myths and assumptions” about offshore fish farming.
Titled “Refuting Marine Aquaculture Myths, Unfounded Criticisms, and Assumptions,” the paper argues that there is a need for more food produced in a sustainable manner, that aquaculture already operates within strict environmental regulations, that operators and regulators can work together and that all farmers are interested in cross-disciplinary collaboration in an effort to improve.
The common aquaculture criticisms the paper addresses include regulatory oversight, waste and discharge, antibiotics and other substances or chemical treatments, entanglements with marine mammals, impacts on wild stocks and habitats, feed additives and more.
Authors include Paul Zajicek (National Aquaculture Association, Florida), John Corbin (Aquaculture Planning and Advocacy, Hawaii), Sebastian Belle (Maine Aquaculture Association) and Robert Rheault (East Coast Shellfish Growers Association).
“Marine aquaculture is not risk-free in terms of potential environmental, economic, social and cultural impacts and challenges remain to achieve a sustainable industry,” the authors wrote. “These challenges are well known and addressable by the U.S. and global research community.”
The paper comes as a new bill circulates in U.S. Congress pushing for the adoption of new offshore aquaculture regulations in federal waters. It is the third time that a similar bill has been introduced in the past three years.
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