The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, recently gave the green light to factory farm fishing in an effort to reduce “our” reliance on foreign seafood. However, a fish by any other name would smell, well, just as fishy.
Factory farming is factory farming, whether it’s on shore or off, and even in the ocean there will still be the same types of problems encountered with land-based farms. Like most other animals on factory farms, the fish will be confined in large nets, much like chickens are confined in extremely tight quarters. While one might argue that a fish is less sentient than a chicken, it’s still a living creature, one not meant to be corralled from its natural habitat.
And if you think fish aren’t prone to the same problems as land-based animals – think again. Factory farm fish are given feed intended to increase their weight and size, fed dyes so their “flesh” will be a pleasing color (think salmon), they are often sprayed with pesticides because confined conditions may cause the spread of parasites, and they attract natural predators, which have to be killed to protect the “crop.”
Where as a free swimming school of fish will deposit its waste here and there as the school travels for miles, on factory fish farms all that waste is all confined to a small area, polluting the sea bottom beneath it. This could result in toxic algae blooms. And even though these farms are located far from shore, under the right set of circumstances (or should that be the wrong set) storms or changing currents could wash that waste up on our beaches.
Conveniently not considered is what happens if a net breaks or choppy wave action frees some of the farmed fish. How will it affect “natural” aquatic life when frankenfish breed with other fish in the wild? Our government continues to put the health of the American people at risk by continually focusing on raising more animals for food rather than looking for more sustainable (as well as humane and healthy) alternatives among plant based foods.