Big Food Fish Can Help Feed the Future
Tico Tuna: Almaco jack, Seriola rivoliana, is much easier to raise and harvest than tuna and tastes much the same.
Big beasts that have been forced to evolve for human benefit are
called domestic animals. Domestic food animals have changed the course
of human history and evolved for millennia, giving us things like cows
and pigs. All the big food animals have one thing in common: They live
on land. But, as we all know, times are changing. Today we are seeing
the dawn of domestic big food fish.
We tried domesticating a lot
of different land animal species before we ended up with the major ones
we all know today. Could it be that the same thing will happen in the
ocean? Experts think it’s a sure thing. So what fish of the many being
tried might help feed a hungry world?
A lot of factors influence
production of domestic food animals, but ultimately they must produce
quality quickly and cheaply. If the animal is hard to breed or difficult
to raise, does not taste good or is delicate in nature, its not a big
Two fish are fins apart from the rest of the
wannabe maritime domestics. Their names vary depending on where in the
world you are, but the species are the same: Seriola rivoliana and Rachycentron canadum. We could trademark them as “Tico Tuna” and “Caribbean Salmon.”
Tuna goes by Almaco jack, kahala, longfin yellowtail, Songoro amberjack
and medregal, while Caribbean Salmon is known as black kingfish, black
salmon, ling or cobia.
Hawaii’s Kona Blue Water Farms, a world
pioneer of open-ocean farms, markets the common fish that divers and
sportfishers in Costa Rica call Almaco jack as Kona Kampachi. Because
many people cannot tell the difference between the taste of this fish
and that of albacore tuna, the meat meets the standards of the
discriminating sushi connoisseur and also tastes great prepared any
other way. This fish is way easier to raise, harvest and make money from
than tuna, which seem to be our planet’s default favorite fish. Farming
Tico Tuna would be far more sustainable than Costa Rica’s current
myopic tuna, dolphin, shark and ray-killing machines, the tuna dozers,
that destroy our national heritage every day in the rarely seen offshore
We need look no farther then Caribbean Panama
for pioneering offshore blue farmers of a species that was called black
kingfish by some of Costa Rica’s Caribbean fisherman back when we still
had these fish. U.S.-based Open Blue Sea Farms spent a lot of energy
figuring out that this fish is one of the major players in future food.
Similar in appearance to sharks, black kingfish are big, tasty enough
for sushi and quick and easy to produce in blue farms. As Costa Rica’s
Caribbean has hardly any big fish left due to massive overfishing,
farming this fish would reduce pressure on the few remaining wild fish
while providing more habitat. In other words, fish farms might save
Costa Rica’s Caribbean fisheries from switching to jellyfish to survive,
as has happened in other places where fisheries have collapsed, like
North America’s cod stocks.
These obvious choices for the future
of big fish domestication also can be raised without antibiotics,
hormones or mercury, making them healthier for people and the planet.
Grown together with shellfish, seaweed and smaller fish, blue farmers
can mimic a natural ecosystem that absorbs one species’s waste while
producing food for other species, like us. The farms would be far out to
sea, out of sight from the beaches and islands that support the economy
with tourism. Surfers can chill out because the farms would have no
effect on waves, and surfers love sushi. Fishers would catch more fish
around the farms, as they are proven fish-attracting devices.
pelagic blue farming seems like a much better option than buying fish
from Panama and Hawaii, or eating more jellyfish.
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Foolish fish farm
finished in Costa Rica.
The tuna farm wanted to
set up right off the beaches, with no concern to anything but their
own profits. Costa Rica told them adios.
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