Myths and misconceptions: challenges to aquaculture misinformation increase

The EU’s food security is dependent on increasing imports from the global south. As Asia’s importance emerges in supplying the EU with whitefish and shrimp, SEAT has been investigating the three pillars of sustainability (environmental, social and economic), from the perspectives of both consumers and producers, of this industry.

More than half of all seafood eaten today now comes from farmed sources and aquaculture is becoming ever more important in providing an increasing global population with high quality, affordable and accessible protein. However, as an emerging industry, aquaculture has often faced the same criticisms despite changes in farming methods and standards over the years.

In the summer of 2013, SEAT published responses to several common misconceptions and “myths” about aquaculture using findings from the several years of investigations carried out through the project. These include “aquaculture is all the same”, “fish are farmed in dirty water and crowded conditions” and the issue of mangrove degradation.

Now, more and more people are challenging some of these assumptions and criticisms in the face of developments within the industry internationally. Following SEAT’s novel example, in November 2013, as part of “Seafood Month”, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also decided to tackle some of the most commonly expressed myths surrounding aquaculture, including:

  • Farmed fish and shellfish doesn’t taste as good.
  • Aquaculture causes diseases in wild fish.
  • Fish waste from net pen aquaculture harms the ecosystem.
  • Farmed fish are full of harmful antibiotics.
  • Farmed fish are contaminated.
  • Farmed fish isn’t safe to eat.
  • Aquaculture uses more wild fish than it produces.
  • The U.S. doesn’t need aquaculture.

You can read SEAT’s myth busters here and NOAAs here.

Photo © Loni Hensler