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The Environmental Impacts of Fish Farming

By Massimo Bedoya

Aquaculture is a burgeoning industry whose historic and projected growth has important consequences for the environment as well as for fish welfare. This paper is intended as a summary of current knowledge on the various methods used to farm finfish and some important ways these practices create environmental harms and risks. The reader should gain a foundational understanding of the various common systems used to farm fishes, the differences between high- and low-intensity systems as well as between marine and freshwater aquaculture, their implications for environmental impact, and a bit about the future of the industry and the importance of fish welfare. 

Specifically, this report will focus on:

  • Use of wild caught fishes for feed

  • Diseases affecting wild fish populations

  • Eutrophication

  • Farm escapes

  • Antibiotic use

  • Energy use

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