SXSW Eco Re-cap: The Future of Fish

Published October 08, 2014

Yesterday, National Aquarium Chief Conservation Officer Eric Schwaab participated on a panel titled “Fish Farming: Futile or the Future?” at the second annual SXSW Eco conference in Austin, Texas.


During their hour-long session, the panelists, including world-renowned ocean advocate Dr. Sylvia Earle, were asked to look seriously at the future of seafood and sustainable aquaculture.

Aquaculture is defined as the farming of (both marine and freshwater) fish, shellfish and plants. Much like its equal on land, agriculture, this industrial process includes breeding, rearing and harvesting.

Aquaculture accounts for nearly 50 percent of seafood consumed worldwide.

Dr. Earle put the sometimes “out of sight, out of mind issue” of sustainability into perspective saying, “It takes an orange roughly 30 years to mature. It can be 100 years old by the time it lands on our dinner plate, and yet, it only takes us 10 minutes to consume it.”

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Of the 5 billion pounds of seafood consumed in the U.S each year, approximately 90% is imported.

In addition to the plethora of environmental benefits of sourcing our food locally, the panelists touched on the economic opportunity sustainable aquaculture represents. Currently, 90 percent of the seafood we eat in the U.S. is imported. Aquaculture employs close to 25 million workers around the world.

Other notable sessions included a lively discussion on bycatch and a keynote from Dr. Earle, during which she shared her new documentary film, “Mission Blue,” and so many reasons for us to have/give hope for the future of our blue planet. We’ll leave you with this message from “Her Deepness”:

“We have a planet and ocean that is in trouble. The ocean is not too big to fail.”

Want to learn more about what’s impacting our blue planet and how you can become part of the solution? Click here.

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