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Media Feeding Frenzy Over UN Aquaculture Claims

by the Fish Site Editor
04 March 2009, at 12:00am

EU - A new United Nations report has sparked outrage with its suggestion that fish farming should be dramatically increased to keep pace with growing fish consumption.

Although the U.N. report presents aquaculture as a way to take pressure off wild fish stocks, conservationists say that fish farms indirectly snatch the food from many wild predator fish, marine mammals, and birds, reports Discover magazine.

According to the report, environmental groups say the report appeared to ignore the huge environmental problems posed by fish farms. The Guardian says that in particular it ignores "the need to “hoover up” vast quantities of smaller fish like blue whiting, anchovies, sardines and sand eels, and more recently even krill, to feed the farmed fish."

Oceana’s Margot Stiles said in the San Francisco Chronicle, “These fish may be small. They’re not glamorous. But they do all of the work in the ocean…. They’re the foundation of the food web. Without them, we would lose the things we really care about - the seabirds, whales, tuna and salmon”

Oceana has asked for catch limits for small prey fish, and is also pushing for a West Coast ban on fishing for krill, the tiny shrimp-like creatures that are a crucial food source for whales and other marine animals.

That ban was adopted by the Pacific Fishery Management Council three years ago but has been held up by the U.S. Commerce Department.

"Scientific and environmental groups are asking officials in the Obama administration to approve the West Coast ban on krill fishing and to extend catch limits to other prey species", says the San Francisco Chronicle.

According to Discover, in response to environmentalists’ criticisms, the U.N. has suggested that aquaculture operations should focus on herbivore fish species, like tilapia and carp.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

the Fish Site Editor

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