The ethical issues of using wild fish as feed for cultured fish
TheEthical issues of using wild fish as feed for cultured fish.
Farmedfish is known to be the solution to curbing overfishing. However, ithas been proven that most of the wild fish being caught are used tofeed the fish in the farms.This has been the trend for a long timeowing to the fact that feed-fish supplies remain tight and fishmealand fish oil prices continue to rise (Tacon, 2009).Aquaculture iscontributing to the collapse of fisheries stocks world wide becauseof the numerous tons of wild fish needed to feed a small amount offarmed fish. This is not ethically right and should be stopped. Theuse of wild caught fish as feed in aquaculture results to negativeimpacts as outlined in this paper.
Lessfish is available for human consumption when wild fish is used asfeeds for cultured fish. This is becauseat leastfour kilograms ofwild caught fish is needed to produce at most one kilogram of farmedfish.This shows that cultured fish consume a lot more fish meal andproduce less which is ethically incorrect. Secondly, majority of thenatural fish caught by commercial fisheries are fed to cultured fishhence reducing the quantity of low priced wild fish available to thepoor.
Theuse of wild fish as fish meal increases pressure on overfishing. Thispressureresults to a reduction of natural fish and lowers thequantity of fish available for consumption. The price of fish willeventually hike and the poor will suffer in the long run.In addition,it leads to a rise in unemployment due to a reduction in on-shorejobs. When wild fish caught is solely for fishmeal, there will be noneed for processing them. Therefore low skilled labour will not berequired and the poor will end up unemployed.Removal of largequantities of wild fish from oceans and lakes will affect the balanceof in ecosystem as other dependent species, birds and mammals willhave limited supply of food.
Fishfarmingresults to environmental pollution caused bydissolved andsuspended inorganic and organic matter producedin farming operationswhich are largely from the use of low value trash fish as aqua feeds.Finally there will be depletion of rare species i.e. fishing largequantities of krill may eventually lead to their depletion and hencehave an adverse effect on the ecosystem.
Counterargument: use of wild fish as feed is ethical
Arguablywe can state that aquaculture has reduced the pressure of depletingwild fish from the oceans and lakes though it is not proven. Theglobal demand for fish products has risen over the years and stillcontinues to rise. People have turned to fish farming to try andease the pressure of overfishing of wild fish.The more cultured fishproduced from farms and ponds the lesser sought out in oceans andlakes. The more cultured fish produced from farms and ponds thelesser sought out in oceans and lakes.
Refutationof counter argument
Howevera lot of old fish is needed to produce few high quality culturedfish.Presently, high valued cultured species largely depend on theuse of fishery resources as feed inputs, including fishmeal, fishoil, and trash fish species as direct and indirect feed for use infarms. What good does it do if a large chunk of fish meal is wildfish? It is useless to argue for cultured fish if it is going to bethe source of natural fish depletion rather than reducingoverfishing.
Mandatoryregulationsshould be set to guide and protect wild marine. Theintroduction of closed fishing seasons, fishing quotas and stricterenvironmental controls within the major fishing nations and fisheriesshould be imposed to decrease the use of wild fish as feed for farmedfish. It is recommended that governments encourage the use oftraditional forage fish species for direct human consumption.
Hinck,J., Schmitt, C., Echols, K., May, T., Orazio, C. &Tillitt, D.(2006). Environmental
Contaminantsin fish and their associated risk to piscivorous wildlife in theYukon
Riverbasin, Alaska. Archives of Environmental Contamination andToxicology, 51(4):
Tacon,A.G.J. 2009. Use of wild fish and other aquatic organisms as feed inaquaculture – a review of practices and implications in theAmericas. InM.R. Hasan and M. Halwart (eds.). Fishas feed inputs for aquaculture: practices, sustainability andimplications. FAOFisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper. No. 518. Rome, FAO. pp.159-207.