Fish and Filth: The Dangers of Tilapia Farming

Do you love tilapia? I do. But after reading yesterday’s New York Times article about unregulated tilapia farming, I’ll think twice before I order my next fillet. Last year, more than 52 million pounds of fresh tilapia were exported to the United States, mostly from Latin America, as well as 422 million more pounds of frozen tilapia, both whole and fillet, nearly all from China. It’s a booming industry, but it’s doing a lot of damage to the natural world, not to mention the survival of a species.

Environmentalists argue that intensive and unregulated tilapia farming is damaging ecosystems in developing countries with practices generally prohibited in the United States — like breeding huge numbers of fish in cages in natural lakes, where fish waste pollutes the water. The problem is especially severe in Nicaragua.

From the article:

Dr. McCrary has spent the past decade studying how a small, short-lived tilapia farm degraded Lake Apoyo in Nicaragua. “One small cage screwed up the entire lake — the entire lake!” he said of the farm, which existed from 1995 to 2000.

Waste from the cages polluted the pristine ecosystem, and some tilapia escaped. An aquatic plant called charra, an important food for fish, disappeared, leaving the lake a wasteland. Today, some species of plants and fish are slowly recovering, but others are probably gone forever, said Dr. McCrary, who works for the Nicaraguan foundation FUNDECI.

Fortunately, there are new sustainability standards being developed for aquaculture to protect the water sources that so many people in the developing world rely on.

Learn more.

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10 Responses to Fish and Filth: The Dangers of Tilapia Farming

  1. softfree says:

    Thank you..really informative!!

  2. And people think Congress should handle our healthcare? Who are the bigger idiots, Congresspersons or their constituents.?

  3. Tuan Raelson says:

    When the Padres built their huge new stadium with its enormous field they dumped Bochey like a hot potato. They realized he didnt have the right mind set. (How did they reach that conclusion? Theyd watched his entire career, thats how. I pray Sabean chokes on his next bite.) Even with twice the payroll Bochey cannot do what the Padres are doing. He doesnt know how, and he doesnt want to learn.

  4. I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.

  5. PUZZLE GAMES says:

    He who fights and runs away, may live to fight another day

  6. I don’t understand how cloud’s are formed, however the clouds do, and that’s the vital thing.

  7. Free says:

    Make hay while the sun shines

  8. Well, I do not know if that is going to work for me, but definitely worked for you! :) Excellent post!

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