With the right strategy, fish farms can make an important contribution to nutrition in the world.
The artificial breeding of marine animals could in the future continue to help to secure the nutrition of the world population. The marine ecologist James Diana from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor came to this conclusion when he examined current trends in so-called aquaculture. With the help of the artificial breeding of fish, shellfish and crustaceans, yields could be further increased until 2025, without affecting the environment more than with conventional agricultural cultivation. The world population is growing continuously and with it the need for food. The yields of classical fishing have been constant for more than 20 years, as natural stocks have fallen drastically. Because the constantly increasing demand for fish and other marine animals led in many areas to threateningly low stocks. Therefore, aquaculture artificially breeds food and shellfish in fenced pools. Since 1985, yields from aquacultures have grown by an average of 8.8 percent per year. In the meantime, these man-made farms supply around one third of the total output from the sea.

However, these breeding grounds can also pose risks: poor management can lead to polluted waters and the high density of animals favors the spread of disease. A special danger is also escaped breeding animals, which displace the natural stock.

However, if the standards are met, aquaculture certainly has the potential to have a positive impact on natural resources, explains Diana. As the availability of breeding animals reduces the number of threatened species, rare species may recover, thereby preserving marine diversity. But not only the natural fish stocks benefit from aquaculture, the scientist emphasizes. The technology also benefits developing countries, because the exports they produce generate revenue. Even now, more seafood is produced with farmed seafood than with meat, coffee, tea, bananas and rice together.

James Diana (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) in BioScience (Volume 59, Number 1) ddp / science.de? Stefan Pröll advertisement

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