Eric Punkay / Marine Photobank
For more than a decade, SeaWeb has acted as a leading voice for environmentally responsible aquaculture by informing key audiences about the state of the industry as well as breakthroughs in the field that advance ocean conservation. We envision a world in which aquaculture is evolving and producing in a truly sustainable manner so that it contributes positively to global food security and the seafood supply while supporting the health and productivity of our communities and our ocean.
Aquaculture has positive aspects such as:
- relieving pressure on wild fish populations by providing seafood to meet the growing demand around the world;
- in some cases, improving water quality by certain species removing excess nutrients from fertilizers that can create harmful algal blooms or removing excess organic matter from storm water overflow and sewage. These species can be raised alongside finfish to reduce the impacts of highly concentrated fish waste on the environment; and
- providing a reliable source of income and protein for farmers in developing nations.
However, aquaculture can also place additional burdens on already stressed marine ecosystems. Chief among these are:
- the use of wild fish for food (impacting food webs, commercial fisheries and people that depend on so-called forage fish, or smaller fish upon which larger fish higher in the food chain feed);
- escaped farmed fish can negatively affect wild species through disease transmission and competition (both for food and mates);
- fish waste, disease and chemicals from aquaculture operations can pollute the surrounding environment; and
- crowded net pens create breeding grounds for disease and parasites that can harm wild fish and diminish farm profits.
SeaWeb serves as an objective and credible source of information on both the potential benefits and risks of aquaculture. We maintain a comprehensive collection of regularly updated aquaculture resources, including ocean issue briefs and marine science citations, that enables us to remain a leading voice in this evolving field.
To advance sustainable aquaculture and a healthy ocean, SeaWeb:
- supports eco-friendly caviar from farmed sturgeon as a better choice than beluga caviar in the effort to prevent extinction of wild beluga sturgeon;
- highlights other sources and types of environmentally responsible, farmed seafood so that suppliers, buyers and consumers can make informed and healthy seafood choices;
- builds bridges among aquaculture scientists and ecologists to identify consensus, research gaps and opportunities;
- distributes the latest peer-reviewed science on aquaculture to aid policymakers and others striving for an ecologically and economically sustainable industry; and
- engages with sustainable producers to recognize their achievements and promote the idea that economic gain does not have to come at the cost of ocean and human health.
To this end, SeaWeb is actively engaging with the aquaculture industry and other conservation organizations by: