One of the odder disconnects in western culture is people who claim to care about the environment but will only eat fish that is caught in unsustainable ways – in the wild. I suppose I get the appeal of knowing laborers risked their lives for your food and that farmers in $300,000 tractors don’t have the same cachet. (1) Yet those same people are horrified at the thought of hunting game like rabbit and venison, they want those farmed. Insisting on only wild salmon seems irresponsible. What if we did that about lettuce or strawberries? They’d be expensive and our nutrition would suffer.
Neutral experts believe we will max out our population somewhere around 10 billion people. Despite hysteria created by Paul Ehrlich and later his acolytes like John Holdren, we actually have little issue feeding people. Yes, some still going hungry but that is overwhelmingly in places where located in rich countries scare people about science.(2) In cases, those environmental groups have been funded by Russia, as detailed by the US Director of National Intelligence.(3 )
Putting a natural gene from a Chinook salmon in an Atlantic salmon means the fish grow faster, one example of smart mariculture. Environmental veiled it, like they do almost all science. But it’s hard to claim to care about the environment while claiming only natural fish can be eaten – or that we should continue to import Atlantic salmon on emissions belching ships rather than making it locally grown.
Feeding 10 billion people is no real concern but feeding them well is another thing. As all countries progress they will want to eat more meat and fish, just like they will want air conditioners. Naturally caught fish can’t sustain those diets any more than solar power can keep the lights on anywhere and that is where mariculture comes in.
A new paper notes that only 17 percent of the world’s protein supply is fish and even then most of it is wild-caught because that is what rich people demand. To feed more sustainably, wealthy people would have to change their mentality and the environmentalists they support would have to stop their war on progress. The barriers are consumer demand and feed ingredients, not even something like climate change. Their model found that “the availability of area for profitable fish mariculture to be insensitive to changing temperature, oxygenation and salinity.”
That’s good news, it means we just need cultural maturity and for the wealthy to look at wild salmon the same way they look at wild deer. Not only do elites not expect hunters to be hunting deer and then throwing carcasses in the back of a restaurant, they are horrified by hunting. They expect their meat protein to be farmed. That protein mentality should include fish.
They argue America needs less regulation
Countries all have their own policies on food production, that won’t change, but it will take some work to optimize those based on science. The wealthiest political demographic in the US simultaneously demands high level of centralized government and regulations while only wanting wild fish. The restrictions are onerous.
The authors of the paper contend that the US will need to ease off on the restrictions to allow sustainable mariculture to grow. Countries like China, which will use any resource until it is exhausted to prop up their economy short term, would need to be pressured into having some guidelines.(4)
It makes sense to develop this industry. America feeds itself and much of the world using 2 percent of the population on relatively small amounts of land. Technology and science have boosted yields so well that we have 2,000,000 family farms, no need for factory farming. Right now fishing is done essentially the same as it was hundreds of years ago. Go to where fish might be and throw out nets. If the rest of the world adopted American agriculture, farmland equivalent to the country of India could revert to nature. If America or Europe shows similar leadership in mariculture we could do the same for fishing; less space and less environmental strain while the poorest could still have balanced diets.
Fisheries and coastal tourism would not be impacted, any more than Farmer’s Markets are impacted by affordable food in grocery stores. Everyone wins.
(1) Even then elites buy into organic mythology marketing like that some husband and wife are weeding by hand rather than using the same tractors plus older, less effective pesticides like copper sulfate.
(2) Africa is a prime example of where European colonialism remains alive; they create regulations that block Africa from the European market unless African farmers maintain legacy technologies that Europe wants and can use because they have a natural breadbasket of their own.
(3) Scaremongering food and energy while putting wholesome labels on their own food and energy has been good for Russian geopolitics, it meant Europe was neutered and Russia could walk through Ukraine unchallenged by NATO.
(4) Good luck. When President Obama tried to talk to China about their CO2 emissions, China told him to forget it, they were a ‘developing’ nation and exemption and staying that way, but the US was welcome to ask again in 2030. He was forced to try and spin that as a diplomatic win, claiming that China had never used any date before. We can expect the same when it comes to limiting their fishing.