FISH FARMING: A WAY TO ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE?

Another one of my articles on Impakter:




FARMING IN WATER: THE CHALLENGES OF AQUACULTURE

A Conversation with Michael New, World Expert on Freshwater Prawn Farming and Founder of Aquaculture without Frontiers (AwF)
For a long time, aquaculture was the foster child of agriculture, but now it has come of age: output has more than tripled over the past 20 years, making it the world’s fastest-growing food producing sector.
After the conquest of land, farming is conquering water, a much greater challenge.
With a production close to 80 million tons annually, fish farming provides the world with 17 percent of its animal protein. The lion’s share of aquaculture production, some 90 percent, comes from developing countries, and while most fish farms are in Asia, aquaculture’s highest growth rates have of late been in Africa and South and Central America.

THE FISH FARMING REVOLUTION

Developing countries get more revenue from farmed fish exports than from meat, tobacco, rice and sugar combined. China however, remains the big player, exporting over twice as much in value terms as Norway that clocks in second.
But rankings are shifting with new entrants. In 2014, Thailand, historically the world’s third-largest exporter of fish products, was surpassed by Vietnam, thanks to the rapid market acceptance of itspangasius production, a freshwater white fish that competes successfully with sea-based speciessuch as cod and the freshwater channel catfish produced in the Americas.
Fish farming is fast becoming big business and fish trade requires regulation more than ever to reassure consumers. According to Audun Lem, Deputy-Director in FAO’s Fisheries Policy Division, one reason aquaculture has surged ahead of open-sea fishing is that its production methods are typically “far less seasonal and volatile.” This allows for easier access to insurance or credit – for example, there are now salmon futures – and even “tailored solutions” such as the production of fattier salmon better adapted for smoking.
PHOTO: (ABOVE) PANGASIUS HARVEST – VIETNAM. SOURCE: VIETNAM PANGASIUS ASSOCIATION.
As aquaculture production becomes more reliable, longer-term investmentS can be made in a number of innovative techniques such as selective breeding, cold-storage facilities and methods to minimize fish waste. This opens the way for “fewer but larger operators,” a process well advanced with species such as marine shrimp, tilapia, Atlantic salmon and European sea bass and bream.
An example of one such large operator is Sino Agro Food, inc., an American company operating in China. It is currently establishing mega farms in China to meet the demands of the Chinese middle class, estimated to be around 500-600 million; one project in particular, in Zhongshan, is unprecedented in size and scope, the largest fish farm in the world, covering some 600 acres and using the most advanced water-recycling technology.


...To read the rest, click here. I believe aquaculture is one of the solutions when climate change hits and normal farming goes under stress, let me know what you think!
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