December 18, 2014
Seafood is a healthy option and human demand for it continues to increase. As a result, 90 percent of the world’s fisheries are harvested at or above their sustainable limits, and the global catch has remained stagnant for nearly two decades. With the global human population projected to exceed 9.5 billion by 2050, a sustainable food future will require a balanced seafood supply drawn from well-managed fisheries and environmentally responsible aquaculture. Aquaculture or “fish-farming” is the raising of seafood in contained environments. These may be constructed on land, ocean, river, or lake habitats.
There are many reasons to support environmentally responsible aquaculture, particularly in Southern California. More than 90 percent of the seafood Americans consume is imported, of which more than half is farmed. Here in the US we have the capacity (space, technology, and regulations) to farm fish locally and sustainably and reduce the carbon footprint of our seafood supply. The waters off Southern California are among the best studied areas of ocean in the world and an ideal location to increase our domestic seafood supply through the use of the best-informed aquaculture technologies and practices.
At the Aquarium, visitors can learn more about aquaculture by viewing a show the Ocean Science Center. Marine Aquaculture: Farming Seafood for People and the Planet plays daily on rotation with the other shows created for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Science on a Sphere®. In addition, view the Seafood for the Future (SFF) display at Northern Pacific Preview on the first floor.
Some consumers associate aquaculture with environmental degradation. As with agriculture on land or other human activities, bad practices can pollute nearby habitats. Also, when certain wild-caught fish are used as feed for farmed fish, aquaculture can contribute to overfishing. But these practices can be reduced or eliminated by oversight of aquaculture industries, and regulations are in place in most of the United States that do just that. You can help encourage environmentally responsible aquaculture by supporting restaurants and businesses working with programs like SFF to purchase their seafood from these sources. To learn more about responsible farms and SFF restaurant and retail partners, visit seafoodforthefuture.org.
- Is Offshore Finfish Aquaculture in the Southern California Bight an Idea Whose Time Has Come? (a report from a forum held at the Aquarium in 2008)
- Aquaculture Messaging: A Summary Report of a Workshop (workshop held at the Aquarium in 2013)
- Aquaculture Siting Workshop (a report on a workshop held at the Aquarium in 2007)
- VIDEO: Coastal Conversations, Marine Aquaculture (2014)
- SFF Evaluation of BC Salmon Farms (2013)