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Saturday, August 1, 2015

We Need to Be Farming Fish if We Want to Continue to Eat Fish

We Need to be Farming Fish if We Want to Continue Eating Wild-Caught Fish

You and I both love our wild caught fish. At Kathleen’s Catch our cases practically overflow with beautiful Gulf red snapper, Alaskan halibut, Pacific cod, wild striped bass and, when it is in season, wild Alaskan salmon.  These beautiful fish are some of the greatest treasures available to us.   If our grandchildren and their children are going to enjoy wild caught fish, we have to support aquaculture when it is done correctly.  At Kathleen’s Catch we source our farmed fish from the very best aquaculture operations in the world.       

Let’s say that over the next 35 years, the US continues to set an international example for responsible, sustainable fisheries practices and other countries follow suit so that the number of fish in the sea does not fall to a lower level than it is now.  And let’s say that the per capita consumption of fish stays exactly where it is now.  We are in for some trouble because the United Nations estimates a global population growth to 9.6 billion by 2050.  This mean a 40% increase in demand for proteins. 

Knowing that resources for increased land protein production will be limited, the question then becomes how to increase protein production from the sea.  The only feasible answer is aquaculture.  And at Kathleen’s Catch, that’s not a bad thing because we believe that our food should come from operations with the highest levels of animal husbandry and the best tasting products available with a minimal impact on the environment.

The Carbon Finprint

Did you know that there is less environmental impact from the production of farmed salmon compared to other protein sources?  The carbon footprint of farmed salmon is 2.9 carbon equivalents per pound of edible product.    For chicken, it is 3.4 and for beef, it is as much as 30 carbon equivalents per pound of edible product.  If CO2 emissions are a concern to you, then farmed salmon on your dinner plate makes a lot more sense than a steak.

A Fish Out of Water?

In Norway, it takes 1400 liters of fresh water to produce 1 kg of edible product of farmed salmon and with the increased use of recirculating ponds that number is falling fast.  For chicken it takes 4300 liters of water.  For pork it takes 6000 liters and for beef, 15,400 liters of water per kg of edible product!  

I know that this seems to be a bunch of statistics that are hard to translate into the meal on your dinner plate.  Just think this.  The charge that farmed fish equals damage to the environment and the world’s oceans is not true!  If aquaculture is done correctly, you can eat some of the world’s best tasting fish without a moment of doubt about the future of the world’s oceans.  And you don’t have to worry about what our grandchildren and their children are going to eat. 

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