Fisheries Biology presents the Michael G. Scott Distinguished Seminar

October 7, 2019
From Global to Local: The Role of Aquaculture
Dr. Carole Engle
Wednesday 23 October at 5:00 pm, SCIB 135
We love to eat seafood in the U.S. and our appetites for the tastes and health benefits from seafood, as well as our income levels, have led to the U.S. being one of the world’s largest markets for seafood. Yet our oceans cannot continue to supply the volumes desired by the world’s growing population. There is little question that increasing percentages of our seafood will come from aquaculture.

The real question is: where will those fish and shellfish products be farmed and under what conditions, particularly in terms of food safety and environmental sustainability? The U.S. imports more than 90% of the seafood that we consume, with more and more of this volume coming from aquaculture. Our appetite for seafood has, in fact, created demand for developing countries to produce high-priced aquaculture products for export to the U.S. and the EU instead of lower-priced products for local markets. Given the lack of adequate regulatory oversight and enforcement in many developing countries, what we import into the U.S. is often treated with antibiotics and potentially produced in unsustainable ways with harmful effects on our global environment.

When we impose redundant and un-necessary bureaucratic regulations, we drive the costs up such that U.S. aquaculture businesses move offshore to developing countries. In many cases, such consequences of U.S. policy contribute to increasing global pollution because the countries that welcome those businesses frequently do not have effective enforcement or adequate regulatory oversight.

The underlying, unspoken question has seemed to be: In whose backyard will our fish and shellfish be produced? However, the better question might be: How do we respond to the growing demand to produce locally but do so in a socially and environmentally responsible and accepted fashion? This seminar will contrast production systems, from traditional ponds and raceways to the new investments in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) from economic, resource use, and social perspectives.


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