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An interesting paper on fish farming and waste effects

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Tom Barr, Feb 14, 2007.

  1. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    http://www.aseanenvironment.info/Abstract/41012956.pdf

    I think many have bought into the idea of aqua culture is somehow better for the environment, it's really destroys local bays where it's done, it's just like packing a tank full of fish ............way too many fish.

    Salmon, Shrimp production all fall into this group as well.
    Like any animal feed lot, the waste is enormous.
    It's like not treating pig or cattle effluent that gets dumped into a bay or river.

    But it's "farming" and not taking from wild stocks they say (But it destroys the area around it).

    You all know what those fish look like in over stocked stressed systems vs a wild caught "free range" fish. It's like going to Petsmart vs seeing a fish in the wild.

    Managing and protecting wild stocks seems like a much better solution or at least maintain and better manage the farming practices and regulate them a lot more than they have been.

    Of course the industry will whine, just like the local fishing industry here in CA has about the Crabs, the Abalone, the salmon(we have about 3-5% of the historic stock), and Rock fish.

    They seemed to all think that such regulation is wrong, they should be able to take all the fish they can and produce as much farmed fish in the smallestb area to maximize their short term profits/volume.

    But...........this is till agriculture. If you do not properly manage your farm, it will lose productivity. If you destroy the livestock populations and degrade the system where you grow the livestock, then you will also lose productivity.

    It's a bit like slash and burn agrilculture in the Brazilian rainforest, they degrade system, then move on. Leaving a wasteland where there was once a thriving ecosystem. The ecosystems do recover, but often it can decades or longer and generally there is no costly restoration or mitigation plan involved, the fishing industry and the local Brazilian slash and burn folks are not bound by any such laws there.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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  3. zer0zax

    zer0zax Junior Poster

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    I have volunteered at a salmon hatchery for a couple of months and plan to be a fisheries technician, so right now I don't know a whole lot. Those sea pens to farm fish in are really great at creating polluted dead-zones! The sad part is that the hatchery I was at on a creek was producing a lot more waste than what would occur naturally also, but not to the extent that the fish farms in question produced.

    Here in Oregon the Bonneville dam gives lots of clean electricity, but the price is paid by the fish and a slower flowing Columbia. I like fishing, but my motivation for wanting to work at a hatchery is to take care and preserve what we have left.

    Any Biologists/ Ecologists out there? I guess I am asking for some much needed advice before I start fisheries classes at college! Should I consider a different natural resources career? Any thoughts or advice would be much appreciated, and of course I am not looking to get rich, but rather have a job that I enjoy, one with meaning.

    Thanks for your patience:D
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    We have a fairly good dept here at UC Davis.

    Another issue I hate, and many trout fisherman all over might not like this, but dumping and stocking lakes, especially the pristine alpine lakes with few if any naturally occurring fish, adds what to these lakes?


    Lots and lots of PO4 and NH4.
    Even with "catch and release" (Catch and Kill I call it), there's still huge % die offs due to dropping the fish/transport/initial fish kills, lack of behavior to eat the wild foods instead of trout chow from the hatchery.

    All these dead fish end up rotting and adding as huge amount of NH4 and PO4 to these lakes, then they get algae and turn green.

    These frigging fishman and Fish and Game it seems to me...........are ruining such wonderful lakes and polluting them to the point they are nasty.

    There's no management, no preservation, no ethical catch and release methods, look at the rates of mortality. Some at 20%, some at 80%. It's pretty high and very wide ranging.

    Still, if you wanted a good research project, looking at the impacts of Fish stocking to alpine lakes(Not a bad place to do the research huh?) to water quality, algae blooms would be a good project.

    It boggles my mind these fish folks cannot put 2 and 2 together.
    Placing a concentrated form of PO4 and N into these systems year after year so the fishermen can go kill them over and over again.

    That waste ends up somewhere.
    Some gets flushed with spring rains, snow melt.
    But a lot does not............

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    As far as class work, I think the basics, resource management with policy, and fisheries and asking the real tougher questions, things like why should we really stock this lake? Should we pollute it to best serve the fishermen or the habitat?

    Should we limit fish takes from this lake or only allow catch and release(less stocking, but more in lake death, vs taking the fish out, basically a temp holding pond while the fishermen take the fish home and eat them- but less N and P left in the lake also- but then you have deaths of trout from the stocking methods and normal mortality).

    Always a trade off in resource management.
    Trying to weigh which users and which methods work best for everyone.

    Most of these systems are not "natural", they are much more like landscape horticulture, agriculture farms etc and are managed in similar way, as such, their ecology is more like agriculture, not natural systems.

    The same is true for natural lakes vs planted aquariums;)
    Like public environmental perceptions, aquarist often misapply nature/natural systems for their "created" systems that are heavily managed and very different.

    They are not the same.
    Something to ponder.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  6. zer0zax

    zer0zax Junior Poster

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    Thanks for replying Tom! The solution to pollution is dilution type thinking has proven to be ineffective, but it really is the same thing when a lake or river is stocked beyond natural levels, same ecosystem/ flow rates/ water, but more waste. Same as you have said. I think the main problem with Fish and Game is that they are catering to the fisherman's demands, not the environment's. I guess it all goes hand in hand with worrying about the whale, and not caring about krill. If a lower rung on the food chain breaks, whatever is above it will fall.

    Honestly that is why I am second guessing this chosen path. I hear talks of how managing fisheries are going to change and better methods are going to be implemented, but if its the same talk as with oil, change won't happen until there is no other option and by then it is to late. No more wild stock to reestablish, only mutt strains of salmon and trout that never occurred in that particular stream in the first place. No, I can't save the world, but I guess I wouldn't make a difference either if all I did was put pellets down a fish's throat.

    I really do want to work in the natural resources area, but I have no idea what kind of different jobs are out there, that are actually attainable. I have heard tons of horror stories about marine biologists who ended up working at department stores because there aren't enough jobs available.

    Do you have any web links to alternative careers, or suggestions on similar fields? I know it means more school for the same pay, but I really do view nature from a conservationist point, not a sportsman's point of view. I would rather preserve, not take away.

    Thanks again:)
     
  7. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    In Pennsylvania until 1972 there was a pristine stream, Big Spring, that had as its source the largest natural limestone spring in the state. Located about 40 miles west of Harrisburg, near the town of Newville, it was noted for its population of wild brook trout, Savelinus fontinalis, a species that is very sensitive to degredation of water quality.

    The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) in its wisdom decided to make use of that water to supply a trout hatchery and rearing facility, with waste water to be discharged into the stream. There was an outcry, led by such people as the sportsman, author, and naturalist Charles Fox, but the hatchery was built.

    The water quality in the stream immediately suffered. The native trout strain (probably) became extinct, and the fish were replaced by artificially-raised fish from the hatchery. The stream started to look dirty. It was listed as a source of pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Finally the courts told the PFBC to stop the pollution or close the hatchery. Unable to do the former, they did the latter.

    Throughout most of the life of the hatchery, the PFBC insisted that it was following the law, observing the requirements of their permits, and being good stewards.

    The stream is now healing itself, and in a generation it might be fully recovered, if the PFBC doesn't meddle with it. The original strain of the brook trout is almost certainly lost forever.

    It seems that often people in government with power take pride in controlling the behavior of others but ignore the regulations when their own interests are affected.

    Bill
     
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