Harvesting plants from the sea is an essential part of successful marine agronomy, says John Forster.
Aquaculture has been the subject of two recent high profile reports. The first, entitled Blue Frontiers, begins by asserting ‘There is a pressing need to elevate the debate on the future of aquaculture and to place this in the context of other animal food production systems, including wild capture fisheries’. The second report made the front cover of Time Magazine and poses the question ‘Can farming save the last wild food?’
Both reports make important points. Between 1970 and 2008, global aquaculture production grew (PDF) at an average rate of 8.4% per year, and aquaculture remains one of the fastest growing food producing sectors measured in terms of year-on-year percentage gain. Furthermore, because the world’s fisheries are yielding all they can, there is simply no option but to farm seafood if growing human demand for animal protein is to be met.
Continue reading Elevating the aquaculture debate
It’s time to make more productive use of the sea, says John Forster.
What should we expect from marine aquaculture in the future? Will it serve simply to top up supplies of fish and shellfish from capture fisheries, as it does now and as is mostly assumed, or does it promise something more?
There will be around 9.1 billion people on Earth by 2050 and traditional farming might not be able to produce enough food for them. Limited fresh water and arable land will constrain agricultural growth, while growing affluence in developing countries will add to the challenge as people eat more meat or turn food crops into biofuel. Therefore, ‘Will the oceans feed humanity?’
Continue reading Towards a marine agronomy