When most people think of factory farming they typically think of feedlots, hog factories or chicken operations–not massive open net pens growing millions of fish in our oceans. However, factory fish farming will soon pose many of the same threats to the environment and to consumers as its land-based counterparts.
Growing fish in a crowded environment in open net pens or cages and giving them antibiotic-laced feed inevitably leads to pollution. The waste, which includes excess feed, antibiotics and the chemicals used to treat the cages, flows directly into the ocean and, ultimately, on to our plates.
Food & Water Watch’s new report reveals that if the government used factory fish farming to reach its stated goal of offsetting the U.S. seafood trade deficit (that is, importing less seafood than it exports), 200 million of these fish would need to be produced in ocean cages off U.S. coasts each year. Calculations show that this could result in the discharge of as much nitrogenous waste as the untreated sewage from a city nearly nine times more populous than Los Angeles. Read more