Farm fishing

For the first time in human history, farmed fish production overtook that of beef in 2012, based on data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Where 63 million tons of beef were produced last year, some 66 million tons of fish were harvested from fish farms, mostly to meet the world population's growing need for animal protein.

Recent research from the Earth Policy Institute projects that this year could mark the first instance where people will consume more fish grown in tanks, closed-system ponds, and open-sea pens than those caught in the wild.

Many fisheries experts see this as part of an emerging trend in human consumption, where exponential population growth and poor natural resource management are making it more untenable for world food demand to be met solely through natural systems.

More and more, catching fish in the open seas is becoming difficult since widespread overfishing has brought to the brink of extinction entire species, including northern cod from the Georges Bank near Canada, salmon from Maine, and the prized blue fin tuna from the Pacific.

In the Philippines, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources says that 10 out of the country's 13 major fishing grounds, mostly around Visayas, are heavily exploited. Some estimates see that our present stock is a mere 10 percent of what was available 50 years ago on account of unregulated fishing and habitat degradation.

Hence, the country has started to import much of the fish and fish products it consumes, taking in last year around 700,000 metric tons worth of galunggong, sardines, mackerel, salmon, dory, and fish feed, despite high prices.

Many governments, including our own, have tried to implement regulations to stave off the obliteration of precious marine resources. The FAO noted that some of these measures have begun to bear fruit, contributing to the slowing growth of capture fishery levels in recent decades.
But world fish supply continues to expand, growing at an annual average of 3.2 percent between 1961 and 2009, with farmed fish quickly contributing a bigger portion of this continuous uptrend.
Leading the shift is Asia, accounting for 89 percent of world aquaculture production. Here, Chinese aquaculture dominates, providing more than two-thirds of the world's total volume and boosting China's seafood exports to $13.2 billion in 2010.

Aquaculture is fast becoming the alternative means for both developed and developing countries to feed their populations. Countries like India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil, and Peru have turned to farm-fishing, becoming major producers in their regions.

However, aquaculture does not come without challenges. Waste and excrement from open-sea pens have been proven to pollute seabeds and cause significant damage to delicate eco-systems. Schools of fish housed in close quarters are particularly susceptible to diseases and die-offs.

Fortunately, solutions are available. Fish waste has been proven to be a very effective fertilizer, giving birth to the new field of aquaponics, where fish and crops are jointly cultivated in an environment that mimics Mother Nature. Multi-sector research is occurring all over the world on better, more sustainable aquaculture practices.

The Philippines can succeed in this area, given that in 2010 close to half of fish production in the country was sourced from fish ponds and pens.

Building up our capacity for aquaculture will definitely help feed the country's hungry, some 3.9 million Filipino families as recently reported by the Social Weather Stations.

Coupled with aquaponics, fish farming could also boost the incomes of Filipino fishermen, long considered the poorest of the country's agricultural workers.

With ASEAN economic integration set for 2015, the country should soon identify industries where it can build up its competitive advantage and make the corresponding investments. I believe aquaculture stands as an industry abundant with opportunity.
Website:| E-mail:


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel
    Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel

    The $150,000 pearl-studded, custom-made Calvin Klein dress worn by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o at this year's Academy Awards has been stolen, police said on Thursday. The gown, embellished with 6,000 natural white pearls, was stolen from Nyong'o's room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, during the day on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in West Hollywood said. "Ms Nyong'o was not in the room at the time of the theft," Deputy John Mitchell …

  • South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar
    South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar

    South Korea's Constitutional Court on Thursday struck down a controversial adultery law which for more than 60 years had criminalised extra-marital sex and jailed violators for up to two years. The decision saw shares in the South Korean firm Unidus Corp., one of the world's largest condom manufacturers, soar by the daily limit of 15 percent on the local stock exchange. "Even if adultery should be condemned as immoral, state power should not intervene in individuals' private lives," said …

  • National Geographic 'Afghan girl' in Pakistan papers probe
    National Geographic 'Afghan girl' in Pakistan papers probe

    Pakistani officials are investigating after the famous green-eyed "Afghan girl" immortalised in a 1985 National Geographic magazine cover was found living in the country on fraudulent identity papers. The haunting image of the then 12-year-old Sharbat Gula, taken in a refugee camp by photographer Steve McCurry, became the most famous cover image in the magazine's history. Now Pakistani officials say that Gula applied for a Pakistani identity card in the northwestern city of Peshawar in April …

  • U.S. flies most advanced surveillance plane from Philippines

    By Manuel Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - The United States has begun flying its most advanced surveillance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, out of the Philippines for patrols over the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy said on Thursday, acknowledging the flights for the first time. The United States, the Philippines' oldest and closest ally, has promised to share "real time" information on what is happening in Philippine waters as China steps up its activities in the South China Sea. China claims most of …

  • US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians
    US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians

    The US-led coalition has carried out air strikes against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, where the jihadists have launched a new offensive and kidnapped 220 Assyrian Christians. The raids on Thursday struck areas around the town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without giving information on possible casualties. The town remains under the control of Kurdish forces, but at least 10 surrounding villages have been seized by IS, along …

  • ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’
    ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’

    Supt. Raymund Train, who led the SAF team that killed Marwan in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25, recounted in a sworn statement the meeting he and senior SAF officers had with Aquino in Malacañang on Nov. 30. Train said among the senior officers who attended the meeting were then PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima, SAF chief Director Getulio Napeñas, SAF deputy commander Chief Supt. Noli Taliño and intelligence group chief Senior Supt. Fernando Mendez. …

  • Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts
    Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants seized more Christians from their homes in northeastern Syria in the past three days, bringing the total number abducted by the extremist group to over 220, activists said Thursday. …

  • IS executioner 'Jihadi John' named as London graduate
    IS executioner 'Jihadi John' named as London graduate

    "Jihadi John", the masked Islamic State group militant believed responsible for beheading of at least five Western hostages, has been named as Kuwaiti-born computing graduate Mohammed Emwazi from London. "Jihadi John", nicknamed after Beatle John Lennon due to his British accent, is believed to be responsible for the murders of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig. …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options