Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Scientists Put Fish on Vegetarian Diet

BALTIMORE — Researchers say they may have overcome a roadblock in efforts to satisfy the world's growing demand for seafood through fish-farming.

While more fish are being farmed, taking pressure off wild stocks, environmentalists and fisheries experts are concerned that expanding current fish-farming methods will not be sustainable for many species because that would require more smaller fish to be caught for feed. And that can affect stocks of larger wild fish higher on the food chain.

Researchers at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology say they have developed a plant-based diet for three popular saltwater fish — striped bass, cobia and Mediterranean sea bream. Taste-testers can't tell the difference between fish raised on the plant-based diet and those raised on fish meal, they say.
Hmmm.  I'm trying to decide whether this is a good thing or not.  In the long run, the world can produce more food for people if they eat lower on the food chain, and nothing is lower on the food chain than plants.  Every calorie of grain or soybeans fed to fish is one less available to feed the worlds hungry.

However, the requirement for fish oil in the fish diet totally negates the benefit allegedly being gained by using a vegetable based diet for the fish.  To obtain fish oil, fish are caught, and processed for their oil, and the remaining fish meal is used to feed chicken such things as poultry, which could be fed the grain.  This is what is happening to most of the menhaden caught in Chesapeake Bay.  The oil is extracted for various purposes (including human) and the meal is largely used to supplement animal foods.

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