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Something fishy

| Updated on January 17, 2020 Published on January 17, 2020

The fish farms of the aquaculture industry are havocking natural fish stock and traditional livelihoods

Every year, billions of fish are caught from the seas, dried, pressed and ground to make fishmeal and oil. These are, in turn, used as feed by the aquaculture industry to rear seafood, including fish. Nearly half of all fish eaten globally today comes from such seafood farms, and this share is expected to grow to 60 per cent by 2030.

Fishing for catastrophe, a report published by The Netherlands-based Changing Markets Foundation in October last year, shows how the $362-billion aquaculture industry is havocking natural fish stock, destroying marine ecosystems and disrupting traditional livelihoods, besides undermining the food security of vulnerable communities.

The report — based on findings from India, Vietnam and Gambia — found that in 2016, 69 per cent of the fishmeal and 75 per cent of the fish oil produced were used for seafood farming globally. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 33 per cent of marine stock is fished in biologically unsustainable ways. With governmental assistance, fishing vessels are now able to fish farther, longer and with greater intensity. The crisis brewing underwater, though, is yet to raise a stink on shore.

Tanmoy Bhaduri is a Kolkata-based independent photojournalist; the photoessay was developed as part of a workshop at the Earth Journalism Networks in Kochi

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Published on January 17, 2020