Agriculture and Environment: Shrimp

Environmental Impacts of Production: Fish Meal & Oil in Feeds

Currently, 4 of the top 5 and 8 of the top 20 capture fish species are used primarily to make fish meal and fish oil for aquaculture and livestock feed.

Globally, 35% of all capture fisheries are used for fish meal. Aquaculture is the fastest-growing user of fish meal and fish oil in the world. Shrimp and Salmon account for most of the use.


High concentrations of fish meal used
Shrimp farming uses, on average, 2-3 times as much wild fish in feed as the weight of the shrimp it produces. This contributes a net loss to global fisheries.

Globally, no one knows the environmental impacts of removing so many fish for fish meal. It is not even known if the populations of fish meal fish are greater at this time because so many predator species have been fished to the point of capacity or overfished. It is clear that some fish-meal species are not palatable to humans and have only limited, if any, markets.

Nonetheless, to continue to use high concentrations of fish meal in feed formulations when there are ways to reduce it is at the very least an inefficient use of limited natural resources and possibly far more significant environmentally.

Credits

Extracts from "World Agriculture & Environment" by Jason Clay - buy the book online from Island Press

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