Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Shellshocked Documentary in Wellfleet Aquaculture is Huge, Important and Growing

Shellshocked Documentary in Wellfleet August 19th

If you missed the Mass Oyster Sponsored showings in Winthrop and Boston and you are on the Cape, you can catch this award winning documentary which focuses on oysters in New York City.  Director Emily Driscoll is the most mid-western New Yorker you will ever meet!




W.H.A.T. in conjunction with SPAT and the Town of Wellfleet will be hosting a free community screening of SHELLSHOCKED on Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 4pm "Saving Oysters to Save Ourselves” follows efforts to prevent the extinction of wild oyster reefs, which keep our oceans healthy by filtering water and providing many other ecosystem benefits. Today, because of overfishing and pollution, wild oyster reefs have been declared 'the most severely impacted marine habitat on Earth' and no longer play a role in their ecosystems.  Now scientists, government officials, artists and environmentalists are fighting to bring oysters back to the former oyster capital of the world" - New York Harbor.  Join SPAT, the Town of Wellfleet and WHAT for the Cape Cod debut of this important documentary.  Following the film will be a panel discussion led by film producer Emily Driscoll and panelists Anamarija Frankic, Andy Koch.  Curt Felix, Vice Chair Wellfleet Wastewater committee and Dan Lombardo, Artistic Director from WHAT will be moderating.



The Importance of Aquaculture

This is an excerpt from a blog on aquaculture and the statistics were amazing and interesting. I knew that aquaculture is important to preserving the Eastern oyster (ironically after almost wiping it out in the 1800s in New England and the 1900's in the Chesapeake.)

Upwards of 50% of all seafood consumed in the world is farm produce. This is a dramatic increase, since a mere 30 years ago less than 10% of all seafood was produced by aquaculture. While seafood production from wild capture has remained relatively flat over the past 30 years, growing at a mere 1.0% annually, seafood produced by aquaculture has grown by 8.3% per year.

According to the Food and AgriculturalOrganization (FAO) of the United Nations, aquaculture is the fastest growing source of animal protein. Currently, salmon, shrimp, pangasius, tilapia, abalone, clams, trout, oysters, scallops, mussels, seriola and cobia are the most common species of farmed seafood. Sixty percent of aquaculture production is from bodies of freshwater while the balance is from estuaries or the sea.








The worldwide total yearly aquaculture production of finfish, shellfish and plants now surpasses 75 million metric tons. This compares with beef (65 million metric tons), pork (109 million metric tons) and poultry (98 million metric tons), making aquaculture a major source of protein. 




This dramatic growth in aquaculture has enabled global per capita consumption of aquatic protein and plants to increase over time without further taxing wild species. Aquatic plant and animal contribution to the human diet has reached an all-time record of 23.9 kilograms per person on average; supplying 3 billion people with at least 15% of their animal protein intake. Over the past 30 years, per capita consumption of seafood has grown by 1.1% annually despite 1.5% population growth.


The FAO projects that aquaculture has the potential to meet the protein needs of 500 million additional people. 

Globally, aquaculture is heavily concentrated in the Asia-Pacific region. According to the FAO’s most recent statistics, the Asia-Pacific region accounts for 89.1% of global aquaculture production with China alone contributing 62.3%. Of the fifteen leading aquaculture-producing countries, eleven are in the Asia-Pacific region. Africa, on the other hand, only produces 2% of global aquaculture, and yet is one of the more protein-deficient regions of the world. It is interesting that one of the Island Creek Founcation's activities is in Zanzibar an island off the coast of Tanzania off the coast of Africa.

The potential for coastal saltwater aquaculture is considerable. For instance, food-challenged Somalia has the longest coastline in Africa and could advance as a major producer of farmed shrimps.
Fish raised in a farm environment convert feed to protein much more efficiently than the farming of land animals. The primary reason for this is that fish are cold blooded and they require no energy to maintain their body temperature. Alligators also are cold blooded and efficient at adding body mass. For an alligator it takes 2 pounds of protein to generate 1 pound in body weight. The following chart compares the feed efficiencies of fish to terrestrial animals (kilos of grain per one kilo of meat):


The amount of arable land that can be farmed is finite.  And in many areas it is decreasing due to development of suburban housing or industrialization. The world needs to use every resource available as efficiently as possible in order to feed its population.Aquaculture can be part of the answer to this challenge. We also should keep in mind that many forms of aquaculture do have environmental costs as well. Fortunately in the case of oysters the ancillary impact of water cleansing, offsetting ocean acidity, and sheltering other species are largely positive.

To see the original post from which this is extracted please go here.



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