Does fish farming not exist on a large scale because it isn't economic, practical or necessary, or something else

Thanks for reminding me. I’ve pulled some barramundi out of the freezer, and I’ll cook it on the barbie this weekend.

No, it doesn’t taste like tuna; but it’s my favourite whitefish at the moment.

I recently had reason to visit a webpage of a fish farm that sells full sized, live animals for human eating son after being sold. They raise both largemouth and striped bass, both predators. They also raise bluegill which are omnivores.

And apparently there are efforts to make tuna farming commercially viable albeit with little success to date.

I wonder if its financially feasible to feed predator fish a diet consisting of ground up insects. If they did, I wonder if people would buy the fish after.

For anyone who can find a copy, I recommend Farley Mowat’s Sea of Slaughter where a part is dedicated to discussing what happened to the Grand Banks cod fishery. It went from being one of the world’s great resources (and may have clued Columbus into seeking the Orient by going west) to being on life support - simply due to willful blindness on the part of regulators.

To echo several other posts, ecological complaints about the pollution from fish farms was big in the news a decade or more ago. Not sure what went away - the fish farms or the complaints. Imagine the equivalent of one of those chicken or hog barns, but open to the environment and in 3 dimensions.

Another complaint was about the escape of domestic (possibly gene-modified) fish into the wild to mate with local wild fish.

Yeah, but barramundi are euryhaline, and primarily freshwater fish. It’s a lot easier to farm freshwater predatory fish, I’m sure - they already farmed pike and perch in the Middle Ages.

Does fish sate your son’s craving for human flesh?

Lionfish are big problem as an invasive species. They eat everything and are prey to nothing. The problem with making it a commercial enterprise is that all the efficient methods of catching them also catch lots of other fish we don’t want to pull off the reefs.

So they must be speared by hand. The labor costs here mean that you’ll never see lionfish fillets at the supermarket for 8.99/lb. It’s a shame because apparently they are a tasty, white fleshed fish.

I’d heard the same years ago, but I’ve also read a number of articles that pop up in business journals and such in the past 4-5 years that suggest at least in the United States, aquaculture is being done a lot more cleanly than in the past. This supposedly creates fish that are better to eat and less environmentally damaging. I would guess it has also raised the price of American farmed fish, and I note at my local supermarket a lot of frozen fish sold cheap and in bulk is labeled as a farmed product of China. I suspect Chinese fish farms observe far fewer health and environmental standards.

I also have heard that catfish is one of the “better” fish to farm, in that it’s a relatively easy to farm fish in a way that’s environmentally friendly and sustainable. In the U.S. South, especially in states like Mississippi / Arkansas / Alabama I think there was a long history of fairly heavy catfish farming. Last I heard though, despite being the largest aquaculture industry in the United States catfish farmers are doing really bad financially. Largely due to a combination of changing tastes (less Americans eating catfish) and very low cost competitors in Southeast Asia who import pangasius and other “similar tasting” Asian fish that are much cheaper than farmed American catfish.

I’ve always been rather impressed by how tilapia can be reared in filthy crowded tanks. It’s an awfully nice-tasting fish given where it comes from.

It’s “nice tasting” if it’s raised in relatively clean tanks - get one that’s been eating actual sewage and garbage it might not be so nice. Sort of like catfish, that way.

Or pigs.

I guess however they are raised in the US is usually clean enough. I’m a fairly picky eater, but I’ve generally enjoyed tilapia when I’ve eaten it.

The problems with both fisheries and aquaculture are such that I have mostly given up eating fish at all. It is just too environmentally damaging at the scale it is being done.

This is because there are too many people who want to eat this kind of protein, because there are too many people on the earth, period.

Do you allow yourself any animal protein? If so which do assess as the smallest sets of net harms? Are you willing to choose with that as the sole criteria?

Sole criteria, yuk yuk.

I eat all kinds of meat and fish – just not in large quantities at a time and less than five meals a week. I think my major sources of animal protein are eggs (my own hens) and dairy products (organic, local).

The details are at least as important as the generalities. For example, local grass-finished beef (no feedlot for fattening) is fine with me, ecologically speaking, as it eliminates most of my sustainability issues with beef. Because of all the small farmers in my part of New England, there’s a lot of locally sourced, sustainably-raised meat and poultry available. Though you will pay what it costs to produce it.

Fish, currently, is a poor ecological choice all around, with a few exceptions, like US farmed tilapia and catfish.

Today I had some kielbasa (local company, truly great sausage) but it was part of a dish of casual ratatouille – sauteed zucchini, bell peppers, onions, basil – over a bed of roasted potatoes and parsnips. So the veggies way predominated. I almost never make a typical American meal of a slab of fish or meat plus sides. If there is meat it is more of a flavoring mixed in. I think I’ve cooked this way since the early 1970’s. Hasn’t done me any harm yet.

The real difficulty is the milking.

People eat tilapia, which eat fish poop.

Fishermen in the North America haaaaate carp. They like catching them, and usually state game agencies suggest you remove them (while also releasing the sterile grass carp intended to outcompete the invasives). But in parts Europe people love eating them, so it’s something that will require lots of cultural change but not impossible.

Carp are for Christmas dinner in Poland.

This causes a bit of cultural friction in the UK between Polish agricultural workers and local sport fishermen who fish lakes and ponds for carp that they regard as old friends. They would never dream of eating them, always releasing them back into the water. Sadly their favourite fish tend to vanish during the festive season and end up on someones dinner plate.

Fish farming in Scottish sea lochs is big business. There are over 200. Norway is the biggest producer. But the salmon has to dyed to give it that pink color and there are environmental concerns that are exposed from time to time.