Fisheries: wild or farmed?

There has long been argument about whether aquaculture – the alternative to wild-harvested fish – is better or worse for the environment. While farmed fish like salmon or prawns take some of the pressure off wild fish populations, they also raise such environmental issues as wastewater pollution; the loss of wild habitat such as mangrove forests; pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics; concerns that farmed fish escape and compete with wild species; the spread of parasites and diseases; and the use of wild-caught fish for fish feed. The newly formed Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), like its cousin the MSC, works with the aquaculture industry, setting standards for sustainable aquaculture, and likewise gives its seal of approval to fish farms and their products that meet strong environmental sustainability requirements. So far, ASC standards for abalone, bivalves, tilapia and the catfish pangasius have been finalized, while standards for trout, salmon and shrimp will be completed by the end of 2012, followed by standards for seriola (also known as amberjack) and cobia (also known as ling).

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