Many people see aquaculture, the farming of marine life, as the solution to both the heavy decline of fishing stocks and the resultant high price of seafood. The FAO estimates that about 60 million tons of food is produced through aquaculture per year, and that by 2030 the number will have to reach 100 million tons just to satisfy need.
According to Sloans Chimatiro, a fisheries advisor to the African Union: "The potential to expand the catching of fish is getting limited. But also the products that come out of the lakes and oceans, because of the cost involved in catching them, become very expensive and so unaffordable for the local community. So growing fish is going to enable the continent to produce fish that is affordable."
Many other groups, including several environmental organisations, disagree with the positive assessment of aquaculture. They argue the waste from concentrated stocks of fish destroys nearby ecosystems, while fish that escape from their ponds often breed with their wild brethren and weaken the genetic stock.
Concentrated, unmoving populations also give parasites a permanent home and breeding ground. There is evidence that lice harboured in farmed salmon stocks has damaged natural wild stocks.
When faced with this criticism, however, many aquacultural farmers have moved to organic and sustainable farming methods. Gerry O’Donohue from the Mannin Bay Salmon Company in Connemara, Ireland is one of them.
||- For more coment on FAO and fish farming click here.|