Marine problems: Aquaculture
When done properly, some forms of aquaculture can indeed help take pressure off wild fisheries and provide needed income to coastal communities.
However, as production rises, so too can aquaculture's impacts on the environment and wild marine species, through:
- competition for space
- escaped farmed fish
- parasites and disease
- the use of wild-caught fish for fish feed
- the use of wild-caught fish for farming
- conflict with predators, such as seabirds, seals, and starfish
However, the detrimental impacts can be huge, and have even proven disastrous in some parts of the world. Impacts on local marine biodiversity can in turn cause problems for local communities that rely on marine resources for their livelihoods.
Wild Atlantic salmon in crisis
Over the same time period, farmed salmon production in the North Atlantic Ocean has increased 55-fold, reaching 700,000 tonnes in 2002. Threats from salmon farming are now adding to the pressure on wild salmon.
In Norway, where almost half the remaining populations of wild Atlantic salmon still survive, escaped farmed fish are invading the sea and rivers where wild salmon are struggling to survive. Norwegian wild salmon are also under threat from infestations of sealice from salmon farms. There are indications that sealice infestations could also affect wild salmon on the west coast of Canada.