There’s perhaps no other animal on Earth so synonymous with all things diminutive as the modestly framed shrimp — but, as it turns out, not everything about those famed crustaceans is small. Biologists say that common shrimp farming methods across Asia are so devastating to fragile ecosystems as to make ordering a simple shrimp cocktail one of the worst things you could do for the environment in the name of grabbing some grub.
Not to mention the actual footprint on the seafloor from shrimp trawlers. So not only are Mangroves cleared for shrimp farming, but the reefs too. With a double-edged sword cutting into coastal ecosystems, our appetite for Shrimp will soon leave us wanting.
Alright, more science.
Salmon farming seems like a great idea for the environment, i mean, we’re not directly impacting that actual species population and theres no chance of overfishing, right?
Wrong. While this is true, there are many faults in todays salmon farming industry. Firstly, when you keep around 80,000 salmon in a single net as pictured above, disease and parasites develop and spread very quickly. If you then treat said disease or parasite with chemicals, where does it go? onto the wild salmon population who normally wouldn’t have developed the same parasite or disease, and it kills them off. This happened in 1972 in a Norwegian salmon hatchery when a parasite spread to the wild and devastated large parts of the wild population.
Secondly, while buying locally farmed salmon might seem to reduce food miles (say, if you were instead buying wild salmon caught in norway or scotland shipped down to where you live), it does not. The fact is, that most salmon farms today (except for organic salmon farms) use feeding pellets. These feeding pellets are made from small, oily, bait fish. Where is it caught? most often in the west pacific, only to be then flown to europe to be used at salmon farms.
So the next time you’re buying farmed salmon, think again. Maybe go for a nice piece of Plaice or Mackerel instead?