Aquaculture problems: Farming wild-caught fish

The failure to breed some species in captivity, such as tuna and eel, has led to the relatively new phenomenon of farming wild-caught fish. However, this industry is having a devastating affect on wild populations.

 / ©: WWF
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Tuna farming, for example, involves capturing wild tuna and then fattening them in cages, mainly for exportation to Japan for sushi.

Prior to 1995, very little bluefin tuna was farmed this way in the Mediterranean. These days, more than half the catch is farmed.

The growth of the farmed tuna industry has dramatically increased the number of bluefin tuna caught each year from an already overexploited stock. Some of the tuna caught for farming are juveniles - which will not be able to reproduce in the wild and renew the wild stocks.

This kind of fish farming has had a similarly devastating affect on wild bluefin tuna populations in southern Australia, as well as on European eel populations.
 / ©: WWF-Mediterranean / Paolo Guglielmi
Tuna farming boat with feedfish.
© WWF-Mediterranean / Paolo Guglielmi

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