Open ocean fish farming is a scary thing. Not just because of all those hungry carnivorous fish all jammed into huge cages. Or because of the excess feed and pollution that flows freely out of the cages into the sea.
It is scary because we dont really have it figured out yet. The net pens are prone to storm damage, shark attacks, or other circumstances that may result in large-scale escapes of farmed fish.
In a recent statement to the publication Fish Farmer, the CEO of one of NOAA‚ showcase fish farms – Kona Blue – conceded that escapes do happen and though measures have been taken to remedy this: ‚The exact number of escaping fish is difficult to determine.”
The problem with these escapes is that the resulting genetic mixing stands to weaken wild fish populations if the farmed fish carry diseases or are bred to be stronger and bigger. This will make already at-risk populations even more vulnerable.
So, if this sort of ‚mystery” remains at one of the countries premiere open ocean fish farms, well, it just seems a little too soon to pass legislation endorsing this practice.