Taking a dive into the murky future of extracting food from the troubled sea
In my work on food and agriculture, I’ve focused nearly 100 percent on land-based issues. But the earth’s vast and gaping oceans have always been a major source for human nutrition — and will be only more so as population grows over the next decades. No one who writes on intersections between food and ecology can ignore the seas. I need to educate myself.
With that in mind, I’m currently attending the Seafood Summit, a confab sponsored by a combination of NGOs (e.g., Marine Stewardship Council), foundations (e.g., Packard), and corporate interests (e.g., Darden, which owns Red Lobster and other restaurant chains).
The hottest topic here is aquaculture — a truly new practice with a history of around 50 years, compared with agriculture’s 10,000-year track record. The question isn’t whether aquaculture will continue to grow explosively over the next decades; the question is whether it will mimic the blunders of land-based industrial agriculture, or move in more sustainable directions.
Look for my seafood-ish posts over the next couple of days.