An Intense Debate Over Aquaculture

Is Aquaculture really the hope for restoring our oceans?

Golden kelp

Farming the Seas is the natural sequel to Empty Oceans Empty Nets, the first film in the Marine Fisheries & Aquaculture series, which examined the decline of marine fisheries worldwide and efforts being made to restore them.


An ever-increasing demand for seafood, combined with technical advances that now power the international fishing fleet, have precipitated a global marine fisheries crisis. Fish populations cannot reproduce fast enough to keep pace with the fishing effort. The results of a long-term study conducted by a team of marine scientists recently concluded that 90% of the large fish species in the world's oceans have been fished out in the last 50 years. Most the world's primary fisheries are either fully exploited or depleted. Farming the Seas examines the problems, progress and potential of the global aquaculture industry, considered by many to be one of the best hopes for making up the shortfall.

The Hope for Aquaculture

Catfish aquculture

Fish farming has become the fastest-growing food-production industry in the world and several approaches are being developed, some of which are generating considerable controversy and debate. To many scientists it seems the industry is going in two, almost opposite directions. Some operations raise carnivorous fish (species of fish that require fish flesh and fish oil in their diets), and others raise herbivorous species that require mostly plant-based feeds. This second broad category also includes farms raising shellfish, the filter-feeding mollusks and bivalves that obtain their nutrients from seawater. Part of the intense debate over aquaculture centers around the immense volumes of fish that need to be caught in the ocean in order to feed carnivorous species like salmon.