Aquaculture and Protein—How Effective Fish-Farming Can Provide Invaluable Sustenance in Sustainable Ways
Providing support to endangered aquatic species and offering a resource-efficient method to create protein, aquaculture plays an increasingly vital role in feeding the human population.
A growing human population cannot be sustainably supported by critical resources that are on a decline. Added to this is the dilemma that attempts to mass-produce needed resources—like food and energy—often cause new problems (environmental pollution; pesticides and chemicals that contaminate foods and cause systemic health problems; and more) that don’t advance solutions in the healthiest ways. Aquaculture is one tool with which to tackle the topic of feeding the human population, but whether it’s sustainable is a matter of how it’s done.
“The broad term ‘aquaculture’ refers to the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of animals and plants in all types of water environments […] Aquaculture is used for producing seafood for human consumption; enhancing wild fish, shellfish, and plant stocks for harvest; restoring threatened and endangered aquatic species; rebuilding ecologically-important shellfish habitat; producing nutritional and industrial compounds; and providing fish for aquariums.”
It becomes clear that aquaculture is an incredibly versatile way of producing food and other resources for human use and consumption. Added to this is the fact that generating protein through fish requires fewer resources in comparison to other food sources like beef, pork, or chicken—it takes 1.2 pounds of feed to produce 1 pound of salmon, for instance, compared to 8.7 for beef or 5.9 for pork.
A lot of fish will be needed in the coming decades as well! According the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization, “With capture fisheries production stagnating, major increases in fish food production are forecast to come from aquaculture. Taking into account the population forecast, an additional 27 million tonnes of production will be needed to maintain the present level of per capita consumption in 2030.”
Maintaining a sufficient food supply is just one puzzle piece of a sustainable planet. This can become a more far-reaching topic and include issues of energy generation and consumption that is required to raise fish, to methods of feeding and growing fish that may put a strain not only on water and other resources, but also cause fish to become contaminated with diseases that cause illness or other issues. Animal welfare is another important and relevant topic.
Along with researchers and innovators devising new ways of solving these issues, Team Gemini keeps engaged in the topic and, along with its partner companies, offers continually-innovating ways of implementing sustainable solutions. These include maximizing resource conservation (like water treatment and recycling, and creating renewable energy) and combining human oversight with technological support to minimize problems such as fish stress, water pollution, and others from occurring.
To learn more about Team Gemini’s innovative agriculture solutions, visit http://teamgemini.us/sustainable-agricultural-technology/.
To obtain more info about aquaculture from the NOAA Office of Aquaculture and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, visit http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/aquaculture/faqs/faq_aq_101.html and http://www.fao.org/fishery/en.