Sea West News –
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) notes that 90 percent of the world’s fisheries are at capacity or have been overfished. By the year 2030—a mere decade away—the world population will reach 8.3 billion. That’s 8.3 billion mouths to feed with a decreasing amount of arable land for agriculture.
Around the world, countries like Norway, Scotland, New Zealand, Ecuador, Brazil, India, Thailand and China—to name a few—have embraced aquaculture for decades. In the case of Asia, aquaculture has been around for thousands of years producing locally farmed protein and, more recently, robust economic development.
Unfortunately, the United States has fallen behind many countries, currently ranking #16 in aquaculture production.
The Northwest Aquaculture Alliance (NWAA) believes it is time for the United States, specifically our West Coast region, to embrace aquaculture as a public health, economic development, and food security strategy.
Research demonstrate the correlation between regular seafood consumption and human health. Diets low in seafood result in chronic health issues such as cardiovascular disease, contributing to 84,000 preventable deaths in the United States annually. Consumers need to eat more seafood; aquaculture makes seafood accessible and affordable.
Farming fish, shellfish, and seaweed also supports community economic development. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), fish harvested from aquaculture around the globe had an estimated first-sale value of US $160.2 billion, divided among finfish, shellfish, and crustaceans—using less than 4 percent of the ocean.