Marine farming

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  Ocean Yearbook   25: 1–25 1 1. FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, 1995.2. C. Bailey, S. Jentoft and P. Sinclair, eds.,  Aquacultural Development: Social Dimensions of an Emerging Industry  (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996). Issues and Prospects  Marine Farming: Perspectives on Its Inevitability and Sustainability Menakhem Ben-Yami Fisheries Adviser, Tel Aviv, Israel   As a primary goal, aquaculture development should conserve genetic diver-sity and minimize negative effects of farmed fish on wild fish populations, while increasing supplies of fish for human consumption. 1 INTRODUCTION Fish farming or aquaculture is defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as “the farming of aquatic organisms, including fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and aquatic plants.” Marine farming, marine aquac-ulture, or mariculture can be defined as the “farming of marine organisms.” It also implies some sort of ownership of the cultivated stock, although not nec-essarily over the area where the marine farm is anchored or staked. 2  Sea or ocean ranching, therefore, does not fall under this definition since the “seed” fish grown in hatcheries once released are not owned until captured. Aquaculture, including marine farming, has become a mass provider of animal protein, an employment option for poor farmers and displaced capture fishermen, a solu-tion for marginal lands and water resources, and an export opportunity to earn foreign currency. With marine fisheries unable to satisfy a growing demand for such popular fish species as salmon, cod and shrimp, and inland capture fisheries for trout, tilapia and carps, the markets have turned to marine farming as a com-plementary source of seafood. Aquatic foods have high nutritional quality, con-tributing, on average, 20 percent or more per capita in animal protein intake for almost 3 billion people, mostly in developing countries. Fish is also the world’s most widely traded foodstuff and a key source of export earnings for many countries, particularly for small island states. Fish farming is also significant for countries in South and Southeast Asia.  2 Issues and Prospects  3. M. Cufone, “Ocean fish farms and public-resource privatization,” The American Prospect   (November 24, 2008), available online: <>. History  Aquaculture has been practiced by humankind since time began. Five thousand  years ago, Chinese villagers trapped carp in artificial lakes that formed when flooded rivers receded. Ancient carp culture practices in China were described in the 5th century BC, while Egyptians might have cultivated fish one thousand  years earlier. Also, ancient Romans grew oysters and, most probably, fish 2,000  years ago. Around 600 A.D., the Menehune of Hawaii built a huge fish pond on Kauai, as legend goes, by erecting overnight a 900-foot-long lava rock wall. 3 Most ancient fish farming was based on the capture of young stages and then transferring them to ponds and sea enclosures to grow. This could be done, for example, by fencing off tidal areas toward ebb tide, which arrested fish move-ment seaward and facilitated their collection during the outgoing flow. Another method, practiced till the present in some places, is to let fish enter open enclo-sures during seasonal floods to feed and grow, and fencing them off before the water recedes. Fish are kept in enclosures to grow, or collected and moved elsewhere. Such types of culture can be seen even today, for example, in Italy’s “vallicultura” and in Southeast Asia. All these and other early variants of fish farming are considered extensive type. Extensive fish farming implies that fish are not crowded beyond their population density in nature and are rarely artifi-cially fed. Thus, extensive fish farming hardly affects natural habitats, while environmental problems have only appeared through the intensification of production.While ancient fish farming was based on eggs, larvae, and juveniles col-lected from nature, in a true full-circle aquaculture system they should be pro-duced on the farm premises. First to close the growth circle was an 18th century German farmer, who fertilized trout eggs with their sperm and hatched them in tanks and ponds.During most of the 20th century, marine fisheries and fish farming were developing in parallel as separate industries with little market interaction. By and large, each produced different species and had respective traditional con-sumers, but during recent decades fish market changes have occurred. Many consumers now buy fresh or smoked salmon, sea bream, oysters, or frozen shrimp, often without knowing or caring whether they were caught in the open ocean or grown in ponds, on mollusk farms, or in floating cages. Presently, the farming of about 15 species of marine finfish is either in early phase or expand-ing, each according to progress made by researchers and fish farmers. Nonetheless, capture fisheries and fish farming are inter-related and to a great extent overlap in their ecology, economics and social impacts. Both interact in several manners and often co-exist in common ecosystems. This article discusses issues of marine   Marine Farming 3 4. Food and Agriculture Organization, “FAO fisheries global statistics: capture and aquaculture,” available online: <>.5. Food and Agriculture Organization, “Opportunities for addressing the chal-lenges in meeting the rising global demand for food fish from aquaculture,” Committee on Fisheries, Sub-committee on Aquaculture, 4th Session (Puerto Varas, Chile, 6–10 October 2008).6. A.G.J. Tacon and M. Halwart, “Cage Aquaculture: A global review,” in Cage  Aquaculture: Regional Views and Global Review   eds., M. Halwart, D. Soto and J.R. Arthur, FAO Fish. Tech. Pap. No. 498 (2007): pp. 1–16. farming development, recognizing the fact that our civilization has been based on human-modified ecosystems, both on land and in the water, and that further modifications are required because of the poorly handled needs of the expand-ing human population and the sustained destitution of many people. This chap-ter concludes by providing recommendations and principles for the future sustainability of marine farming. Statistics In 2007, total world fisheries yield was over 140 million mt, of which 90 million mt was produced by capture fisheries and over 50 million mt from aquaculture. Most of the aquaculture occurs in developing countries, with China leading at approximately 31 million mt. 4  In 2006, the world consumed 110.4 million mt of fish, with 51.7 million mt srcinating from aquaculture production. The global population is forecast to reach 8.32 billion in 2030. If capture fisheries produc-tion (92 million mt in 2006) and the non-food uses of fish (33.3 million mt in 2006) remain constant, aquaculture needs to produce 80.5 million mt by 2030 in order to maintain the current annual per capita consumption of 16.7 kg. That is, 25 years from now, aquaculture will need to produce 28.8 million mt more per  year than its current annual production. 5 The Recent Development of Aquaculture During the last four decades, fish farming has expanded to meet the soaring global demand for seafood. On land and in the sea, it has undergone tremen-dous quantitative development, and soon will overtake capture fisheries in the global supply of food fish. 6  Consumption of wild and farm-raised fish has dou-bled since 1973, mostly in developing countries. As the demand for fish rises, populations of marine and freshwater species are unable to significantly increase  yields because of stagnant or declining catches. The total marine fisheries yield has reached 90 million mt/year, a yield that after a period of rapid growth and despite increasing demand has remained mostly level for the past decade.  4 Issues and Prospects  7. Anonymous, “Grow your own bluefin,” Fish News International   47, no. 12 (Dec 2008): 16–17; E. Fiske, “ALLOTUNA duplicates bluefin breeding success,” (2008), available online: <>. Since the late 20th century, salmon has become the main finfish farmed in colder waters, while milkfish, shrimp, sea bream, sea bass and yellowtail are the mainstays in South Asia’s and the Far East’s ponds, cages and lagoons. Atlantic salmon, an exotic fish in Chile and on the Pacific coast of North America has been farmed there since the mid-1990s. Relatively a late comer to the salmon industry, Chile has produced more than 100,000 mt/year and earned over US$2.2 billion in 2006. This followed a 15-year development phase during which production expanded by an incredible 2,200 percent. Between 2003 and 2006, Chile’s export earnings grew by an average 22 percent per year, challeng-ing Norway as the world’s top salmon producer. Unfortunately, Chile’s salmon industry suffered during the last couple of years from massive outbreaks of salmon disease that caused considerable decline in production and earnings. Cod farming, already beyond the research and development stage, has become a reality mainly in Norway, the UK, and Denmark. Also, the farming of halibut and turbot is becoming commercial.The tuna grow-out industry, pioneered in Australia towards the end of the 20th century, has also expanded in the Mediterranean and the central Atlantic Ocean’s coastal waters. The practice of tuna on-grow (fattening) in cages, how-ever, cannot be considered real farming. In fact, it consists of creaming off young fish from the stock years before they have any chance of spawning, and fatten-ing them for half a year before harvesting. This procedure must negatively affect wild stocks of the most sought-after tuna species. In Japan, it is the fry that are caught to be fattened at a fish farm, a procedure that should not affect wild tuna stocks.Recently, however, successes were reported on closing the whole lifecycle of tunas, i.e., holding breeding stock, making them spawn and fertilize the eggs, and on-growing the larvae into fingerlings, etc. 7  If fully implemented this could substantially increase production and relieve pressure on wild populations. The snag is that tuna are grown on other forage fishes. If pellets are used, they con-tain a high share of fishmeal produced from industrial or small pelagic fishes. Several kilograms are needed to produce one kilogram of tuna. The Dilemma of Growing Demand and Sustainability Governments, international and regional organizations have marine policies aimed at achieving sustainability in aquatic ecosystems, particularly with respect to aquatic life and fisheries resources. At the same time, it is widely recognized that present production of fishery products from the wild and from existing
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