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What's free about free-market aquaculture?

by Ellen Hardy
28 January 2008, at 12:00am

US - In December, Randy Parker of the Utah Farm Bureau published a case for private aquaculture in the free marketplace. Within it he aimed to justify Mike Noel's Private Aquaculture Revitalisation bill - a bill that if passed, could subsidise private aquaculture to provide trout for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

This is hardly a free-market practice, says Mr Parker in the Salt Lake Tribune.
"It is basically an effort to privatize a public resource with a product ill-suited for the natural environment," he adds.

He says that to understand the difference in production of trout by private aquaculture and those produced by state fishery managers, one needs only to look at the motivation for both.

Private aquaculture is commodity-oriented, producing fish and fish eggs for fee fishing, private ponds, commercial fish production facilities and the dressed-fish market. Its primary goal is to produce a profit with the meat and short-term recreation that is produced by rapidly grown trout.

State fish managers are stewardship-oriented, charged with the management of the aquatic natural resources of the state and the production of trout that can survive for years in the state's surface waters. The aquatic milieu they are responsible for is a complex system of lakes, reservoirs, rivers and streams with a broad array of native and introduced trout species and other game and non-game fishes.

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Ellen Hardy