Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

How the Soy Industry Is Making Factory Fish Farming Even Worse

GMO

Food & Water Watch

In 2010, the CEO of the American Soy Association reported that the organization has been closely monitoring progress in the development of offshore fish farming legislation and meeting with congres­sional staff on the topic. In March 2011, it endorsed a controversial plan that would allow such fish farming or “aquaculture” in the Gulf of Mexico. In September 2011, a press release was issued announcing a new marine fish farm project that would “revolutionize sustainable agriculture.” The source of the release? The Illinois Soybean Association.

Why are trade associations for an agricultural commodity that is grown on land involved in policies and marketing that affect the use and stewardship of our oceans?

Seafood is one of our last wild food sources. Fish are a vital part of many people’s diets because of poten­tial health benefits, fresh taste and the connection that fish give us to our oceans and coasts. Around half of the world’s seafood, however, now comes from farms rather than from the wild. In some of these farms, fish are grown in crowded, polluting cages and may be fattened on commercially prepared diets.

Feed has been one of the aquaculture industry’s greatest challenges. Many of the species grown by the ocean finfish industry are highly valued carnivorous fish, which have typically been fed diets consisting of fishmeal and oil made from smaller, wild fish. The excessive use of wild fish to grow farmed fish can make aquaculture inefficient. Further, aquaculture has been accused of spurring the depletion of these small fish, which is problematic not only for their own populations, but also to the other animals that rely on them for food.

With little public scrutiny, soy has been hailed by some as a sustainable alternative to feed based on wild fish, thus supposedly solving some of the fish farming industry’s sustainability problems.

In this report, the first to address the relationship between the soy and factory fish farming industries, Food & Water Watch reveals that, while the soy industry stands to make large profits from the expan­sion of factory fish farming, there is no guarantee that soy-based aquaculture feed can consistently produce healthy fish or promote ecological respon­sibility. In fact, by causing fish to produce excess waste, soy could lead to an even more polluting fish farming industry.

By supporting factory fish farming, the soy industry could not only help to expand an industry that degrades marine environments, threatens wild fish populations and damages coastal communities, it could also extend its own negative impacts. Already, industrial soy production has led to the prevalence of genetically modified crops on U .S. farmland and in consumer food-products, caused massive defor­estation in South America and displaced indigenous communities living in areas now used to grow soy.

Rather than actually promoting sustainability in a developing industry, the involvement of soy associa­tions in aquaculture could spur the growth of two industries that have extremely negative impacts on our land, our oceans and the communities that depend on them.

To read the full report—Factory-Fed Fish: How the Soy Industry Is Expanding into the Sea—click here.

Visit EcoWatch's FACTORY FARMING, SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE and GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM pages for more related news on these topics.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Hector Chapa

With the coronavirus pandemic quickly spreading, U.S. health officials have changed their advice on face masks and now recommend people wear cloth masks in public areas where social distancing can be difficult, such as grocery stores.

But can these masks be effective?

Read More Show Less
Jörg Carstensen / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Carey Gillam

Bayer AG is reneging on negotiated settlements with several U.S. law firms representing thousands of plaintiffs who claim exposure to Monsanto's Roundup herbicides caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, sources involved in the litigation said on Friday.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Tom Werner / DigitalVision / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

With many schools now closed due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, you may be looking for activities to keep your children active, engaged, and entertained.

Although numerous activities can keep kids busy, cooking is one of the best choices, as it's both fun and educational.

Read More Show Less
In Germany's Hunsrück village of Schorbach, numerous photovoltaic systems are installed on house roofs, on Sept. 19, 2019. Thomas Frey / Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Germany's target for renewable energy sources to deliver 65% of its consumed electricity by 2030 seemed on track Wednesday, with 52% of electricity coming from renewables in 2020's first quarter. Renewable energy advocates, however, warned the trend is imperiled by slowdowns in building new wind and solar plants.

Read More Show Less

In many parts of the U.S., family farms are disappearing and being replaced by suburban sprawl.

Read More Show Less