HONOLULU – As traditional commercial fishing is threatening fish populations worldwide, U.S. officials are working on a plan to expand fish farming into federal waters around the Pacific Ocean. The government sees the move toward aquaculture as a promising solution to feeding a hungry planet. But some environmentalists say the industrial-scale farms could do more harm than good to overall fish stocks and ocean health. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is creating a plan to manage commercial fish farms in federal waters, the area of ocean from three to 200 miles offshore, around Hawaii and other Pacific islands. The program is similar to one recently implemented by NOAA in the Gulf of Mexico.
A boy in India holding a milkfish, which has been grown in fish ponds in Asia for centuries. MONTEREY - Farmed fish has gotten a bad rap, but it's the only way the world is going to feed the additional 2.4 billion people expected to be added to the Earth's population in the next 34 years, experts told a sustainable food conference. With the world's arable land maxed out and wild seafood overfished, aquaculture is the one place we can look to produce enough animal protein for all those extra mouths, said Steve Gaines, a professor of marine biology at the University of California Santa Barbara and lead investigator for the university's sustainable fisheries group. He spoke at a conference on sustainable food at the Monterey Bay Aquarium earlier this month. As standards of living rise, people eat more protein and especially more meat.
Tech companies have been quick to seize the opportunity presented by Japan's recent Fisheries Reform Act, which opened underutilized aquaculture sites to use by companies, rather than reserving them for local fishery cooperatives. A major impetus behind the legislation was an effort to stimulate a surge of capital investment into aquaculture.
A university known for a technique to cultivate bluefin tuna has succeeded in incubating and growing Japanese eels, an endangered species that is a sought-after delicacy. Kindai University, which sells the tuna it farms, said Friday it grew the eels for 50 days and aims to achieve "full-cycle" aquaculture of eels -- breeding the eels it incubates and cultivates -- for commercial use. In 2002, Kindai University became the first institution in the world to achieve full-cycle aquaculture of bluefin tuna. The fish has gained popularity as "Kindai tuna." "With eels as well, we will try to achieve sustainable aquaculture without depleting natural resources," said Shukei Masuma, head of the Aquaculture Research Institute of the university, based in Higashiosaka, Osaka Prefecture.