The Telegram published an opinion piece on March 3 titled “Henriette Maier: Aquaculture industry doesn’t clean up after itself” which speaks to a previous article written in The Telegram and discusses the presence of aquaculture and its growth in Atlantic Canada.
The presence of aquaculture can often be a difficult topic to dissect because of the strong opinions that are formed from either side of the discussion.
As someone who is pro-aquaculture, it can often be challenging to discuss the topic with someone who is against it because of a barrier of misinformation that often exists.
However, I appreciate your opinion on the subject, especially your encouragement for individuals to research both sides of the argument prior to forming opinions.
It seems that the main argument applied towards aquaculture is that there should be a transition from ocean pens to land-based farming.
This is an idea that is commonly proposed, however it cannot be done as easily as some may assume. There is no doubt that aquaculture is the most sustainable agriculture practice, there are tons of great resources to back this up.
If the industry was to entirely move to land, the sustainability factor would decrease significantly, as it would cause an excessive strain on resources such as water, energy and land.
Just because the fish are in a facility does not mean they are protected from disease and die-offs, as you suggest.
It would also not have an impact on the fish crowding, which is actually not an issue. The fish are stocked in pens at a specific species-dependent density which allows for the fish to gather at the rates which they prefer, and which would occur naturally.
You are encouraging a call to action for industry to clean up after itself which is absolutely something for which they should be accountable.
However, I don’t think that moving it to land is the way in which it should be done. There are regulations put in place for the industry to abide by. One of these is the enforcement of fallowing periods after harvest which allows for regeneration of the area underneath and around the cage and limits the creation of dead zones.
As an informed individual, I fear that this transition you suggest may be enforced by regulatory bodies or politicians without receiving proper information because of the pressure they receive from public bodies and NGO’s, endangering not only the future of the industry, but also the environment.
Graduate student in aquaculture, Marine Institute