Sustainable Seafood Farming Can Bring Unexpected Benefits
Overfishing, and even the potential damage that run-of-the-mill fishing simply does to our oceans, are in the spotlight once again, partly thanks to Netflix’s recent documentary, Seaspiracy. The figures surrounding the health of fish stocks and the oceans, in general, don’t make for happy reading. Serious problems are facing our oceans, and therefore us. Fortunately, sustainable seafood farming is a possible solution to this crisis.
Success with Eco-Friendly Seafood Farming
If we want to continue eating seafood while not destroying the environment, we must implement sustainable seafood farming practices. South China is a recent example of how sustainable seafood farming can be extremely beneficial.
Nan’ao is an island in Guangdong Province, off the coast of Shantou. The lines of colorful plastic balls floating on the surface of the water would be the most noticeable feature if you flew over the island. But these balls aren’t just for show; they’re attached to strings that go into the water and tether oyster larvae. The entire set is a seafood farm that provides a living for many local fishermen.
Farmers will continue attaching the oyster larvae to the strings in September and October, and they will grow until the following summer when they are large enough to be harvested. The balls are necessary for the process because, as the oysters grow heavy, they need something to keep them from sinking too deep since the seawater one to two meters from the surface contains the most nutrition. Moreover, the balls are degradable and are environmentally friendlier than traditional options, such as white plastic foam balls that were damaging to the ocean. Local authorities banned these foam balls and encouraged fishers to replace them with new ones.
The fishers resisted firmly at first, but thanks to subsidies for the eco-friendly balls, many of them switched over and have seen their costs reduced and efficiency increased. What’s more, the colorful balls have proven to be a tourist attraction, bringing more money to the island from local tourism.
Nan’ao’s oyster farm is just one of many examples around the world of how sustainable seafood farming and profitable food production are proving to have benefits other than just environmental ones. From Canadian tech firms making a profit by making the seafood industry more streamlined and sustainable to a San Francisco company making cell-cultivated salmon, entrepreneurs are making a big splash with both low-tech and high-tech innovations.
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