Fish Farming Without Guilt
“Our prehistoric ancestors in Southeast Asia had good reason to domesticate the area’s wild sheep instead of tigers. Sheep were docile creatures that preferred to live together in flocks and could convert grass and weeds that humans couldn’t digest into valuable protein. Tigers were solitary and wide-ranging and needed to be fed many times their weight in perfectly edible animal protein. Early man realized the sheer folly of feeding several sheep to a tiger in order for it to produce a sheep’s weight of meat.
In the 1970s, when modern aquaculturists began casting about for fish to tame, they ignored this 10,000-year-old wisdom. Species were chosen on the basis of their value in the marketplace. If not, what logical reason would anyone have for domesticating Atlantic salmon, a carnivorous fish that cruises the open oceans and needs to eat many times its own weight in smaller fish and marine animals? A tiger of the seas.
Joshua Goldman, working in the unlikely setting of a collection of warehouse-like buildings in an industrial park near an airport in Turners Falls, a village in western Massachusetts’s Pioneer Valley, is attempting to undo fish farming’s fundamental wrong turn…”