Healthy ocean future: Sustainable aquaculture

Full Frame

Bangs Island MusselsBangs Island Mussels farm-raised in Maine.

The world’s oceans, lakes and rivers are feeling the strain of overfishing. Dwindling supplies, of some fish species, have led to a rise in aquaculture, or farming fish and plants.

The practice accounts for roughly half of the seafood production around the globe. China, by far, is the largest producer.

Former Maine commercial fishing lobsterman, Gary Moretti, now co-owns Bangs Island Mussels with his son, Matthew. They produce hand-raised mussels using aquaculture techniques.

“The only way are going to have a sustainable seafood industry in the United States is by the addition of aquaculture,” Moretti said. “It will never happen again by all wild stocks. We will always rely on other countries to produce our seafood if we don’t produce it ourselves.”

Healthy ocean future: Sustainable aquaculture

Full Frame's Mike Walter explains sustainable aquaculture.

While experts say there’s little taste difference between the two, and, nutritionally they are very similar, there is debate over whether wild-caught or farm-raised is better for the environment.

It’s an issue Michael Rubino, the director of NOAA’s Office of Aquaculture and a former aquaculture shrimp farmer, is concerned about.

“We have learned a lot in the past 20 or 30 years about what to do and what not to do, so that we can avoid the negative issues and focus on the positive,” explained Rubino.

So, what’s the difference between fish or plants raised on a farm and those caught or grown in the wild? Full Frame’s Mike Walter explores the differences.

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