Kona touts kampachi as low-impact fish
By James Wright, SeaFood Business associate editor
16 March, 2009 - Kona Blue Water Farms today released an analysis of its kampachi that demonstrates fish farmed in a sustainable manner have an ecological footprint 60 times less harmful on the ocean than wild-caught fish.
The Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, company's findings support Food and Agriculture Organization recommendations for an increase in aquaculture amid declining wild stocks and closures to key fisheries like West Coast rockfish, Gulf of Mexico grouper and East Coast red snapper.
"If we examine the true environmental cost of wild-caught predatory fish, such as swordfish or tuna, we find that sustainably maricultured fish have some 60 times less impact on fish stocks at the base of the food chain, such as sardines and anchovies," said Neil Anthony Sims, president of Kona Blue, which farms sashimi-grade Kona Kampachi®, a Hawaiian yellowtail.
"What would ocean-conscious consumers rather have on their plates - 1 pound of Kona Kampachi, or one sixtieth of a pound of tuna? The impact on the oceans is about the same," said Sims, basing his estimate on three primary considerations.
First, aquaculture is moving towards sustainable substitutes in fish feed to lessen reliance on fishmeal and fish oil. Kona Blue's current feed formulation includes only 35 percent fishmeal/fish oil from wild baitfish, of which approximately 3 percent is from capture fishery by-product. Contrary to outdated ratios of 5:1 or higher quoted by some environmental groups, the current ratio of "wild fish in to farmed fish out" has fallen to approximately 1.5:1 (0.5 pounds of anchovies producing 1 pound of sashimi-grade farmed fish).
By contrast, wild fish are subject to the laws of trophic transfer, where only 10 percent of their prey's food value is transferred up each step of the food chain.
"If a tuna eats a mackerel that earlier ate an anchovy, then there are two trophic steps, compounding the costs," said Sims. "A tuna may therefore need to eat the equivalent of 100 pounds of baitfish to increase its weight by 1 pound." As the fishmeal/fish oil for farmed fish feed involves only one efficient step, trophic transfer loss is minimized.
Secondly, Sims points out that farmed fish have a life cycle that is estimated to be three to 10 times more efficient than wild predatory fish, since they are harvested at a young age, after their most efficient growth, and do not expend energy reproducing or competing to survive in the wild.
The last consideration is bycatch. Some fisheries generate up to 11 pounds of bycatch for every pound that is retained, Sims said. Experts estimate that almost 30 percent of the global wild harvest is discarded. Farmed fish have no bycatch.
Sims said responsible open-ocean aquaculture is a key solution to the depletion of ocean resources, but cautioned, "We still need to ensure rational, effective management of baitfish resources, and take into account ecosystem impacts."
This is really popular fish and Aroma Thyme Bistro in the past. We use a sushi supplier that get two shipments a week from this Hawaiian supplier. Kona, very similar to yellowtail, is sushi grade as the article mentions. We have found in his grill medium rare is absolutely delicious.
Post article mentions the positive sides of farmed fish. Every fish farm operates different. So to say that farmed fish, so you can't say that all farmed fish is good or bad. Each farm easily analyzed individually. The same goes true for wild caught fish.
Issues surrounding farmed fish. A lot of fish farms produce way too much fish for their volume of water. This causes a lot of filth and contamination. to combat this they have to use antibiotics to keep the fish healthy. There's an issue of feeding the fish. A lot of fish farms operate in a food deficit. This means they harvest wild fish in excessive amount to produce their fish. The wild fish harvest the is 3-4 times the weight of the overall yield of the fish they are farming. Certain species of fish require more food. Certain species of fish require a diet primarily a fish feed, or fish meal. While other fish live a primarily vegetarian diet. These are all factors to figure in on the environmental impact.
Wild fish have just as many issues as farmed. So the stuff can get very confusing.
At Aroma Thyme Bistro we have pocket guides from Monterey Bay Aquarium. These guides are free of charge and available at all times. It is the size of a business card that folds up and you can keep your wallet. So year-round dining you can cross-reference your seafood choices. And just recently Monterey Bay Aquarium has an iPhone application. Also our homepage has a quick seafood search link.
At Aroma Thyme Bistro we have always served sustainable seafood. When you dine with us There are no guessing games. That is because the majority of our seafood meets the best requirements. So if you have any questions on seafood Marcus will be happy to keep you informed.
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