Best of 2011 from BCS

I hope everyone welcomed the New Year with style and grace! Here is a fun list to recap the “Top 12 most popular posts written by Beach Chair Scientist in 2011”:

1. It’s as easy as A, B, Sea: Weddell Sea
2. Happy as a clam
3. Beach trivia
4. 5 facts about fish farming
5. Basics on renewable energy
6. 13 apps for your day at the beach
7. Blue Sway – Paul McCartney
8. Can you write with a sea pen?
9. The Majestic Plastic Bag – Part IV
10. Linda Thornton, an inspiring aquaculturist on a mission for sustainability
11. How deep is the ocean?
12. 30 reasons to be grateful for the ocean


5 facts about fish farming

Fish farming on Lake Titicaca.

Image via Wikipedia

Here are five facts about the glory and challenges of fish farming. Fish farming and aquaculture has really stepped up due to the demand for the world’s fish consumption, but maybe not in the most sustainable manner like Linda Thornton.

1.) It’s polluting our water

It seems as though large fish farm like to cram fish to live in very tight spaces. A large amount of fish would lead to a large amount of waste produced by the fish. Also, the unfavorable conditions often lead to disease. Fish farmers tend to treat the disease and infection with harmful antibiotics which further harm the surrounding waterways.

2.) It brings untested chemicals to your dinner plate

It seems as though many of the antibiotics used to treat diseases on foreign fish farms are commonly made of chemical banned in the US. Since there is no regulation often these harmful chemicals make their way to your dinner table.

3.) It’s tearing apart mangroves

Shrimp farmers are tearing apart the mangroves to make way for their new crop of this popular crustacean. However, this destroys a delicate nursery ground for many local fish species. In turn this depletion in resources severely affects local economies. What makes matters worse is that often these shrimp farms are abandoned in order to find better producing areas.

4.) It’s often counter-productive

Fish farms can be tough to maintain, especially for salmon and other carnivorous species. They tend to eat more food than they actually produce! This is turn leads to a lot of waste that can disturb the balance of the surrounding waterways.

5.) It does good things!

Some fish farms raise species that are actually clear out pollutants from the water. Bivalves (oysters, mussels, etc.) are filter feeders and cleanse their aquatic habitat! Also, tilapia are herbivores and do not require as much input as the carnivorous farmed fish need.

No more fish in the sea

From Good (an on-line web magazine dedicated to enabling  individuals, businesses, and non-profits to push the world forward) an infographic detailing the decline of popular fish species in the last 50 years. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the Untied Nations calculates how many fish are left in the ocean by counting how many fish are allocated for harvesting (assuming the maximum are caught).