Over the last 20 years, farm-raised fish have become strong competition for the sales of wild–caught fish. It is expected that for the first time in history, this will be the year that humans consume more farm-raised fish than wild-caught fish.
This expectation comes as a result of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s 2012 State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture report, which does say that wild fishing will continue to play a large role in the industry. However, aquaculture holds much more promise for the demands of the increasing human population and declining wild fish populations. Over harvesting breeds of fish also make it more difficult for the fishing industry.
There have been some some unfortunate side effects to aquaculture, however, such as deforestation and disease outbreaks which lead to overuse of antibiotics and pesticides. As a result, several third-party certification systems have been put in place to help ensure the safety and sustainability of aquaculture.
There is still a lot to learn when it comes to aquaculture, but this shift is a good sign that we are beginning to work with nature in order to satisfy our food demands (even if they are not ideal), rather than against it.
Image CC licensed by Burt Lum: Fish farm