The sustainability of seafood farms Name University 5 February 2012 Globalization is blamed for widespread environmental destruction, because of transnational, multinational, and global corporations that constantly pursue relentless profits across the globe, without understanding how they impact local communities and the environment…
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Sustainability pertains to the “long-term viability of a community, set of social institutions, or societal practice” (Meadowcroft, 2012, p.944). It aims to align the needs and concerns of present and future generations. Sustainability is a framework that asks companies to consider a triple bottom line when planning and executing business strategies and plans. A triple bottom line integrates the effects of business on profits, people, and planet. The concept of sustainability influenced the triple bottom line of seafood farming by compelling the state, people, and firms to safeguard the ocean from unsustainable aquaculture practices that pollute oceans and negatively affect its biodiversity, as well as harm the livelihoods of small fishermen (Weeks, 2007). This essay first discusses the processes of production, distribution, and consumption in fish farms. Production refers to the “growing” of seafood for mass consumption. It consists of using ocean pens or nets to culture seafood at faster rates than when these sea creatures are in the wild. In the early 1950s, fish farms produced less than 1 million tons of seas foods every year; in 2004, they are raising 60 million tons of finfish, shell fish, and aquatic plants (Weeks, 2007, p.627). Distribution pertains to the movement of seafood goods among producers, sellers, and consumers. At present, the U.S. cannot meet its seafood demand, so it imports seafood from China, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines (Weeks, 2007, p.628). This means that seafood production generally comes from developing countries and distributed for consumption to developed countries. It also supplements its seafood demand through aquaculture, although its output is not enough for American seafood consumers. Consumption is the using up of seafood resources. Because of increasing health concerns, more and more Americans consume fish. From 1998 to 2005, American per capital consumption of fish increased by 30% (Weeks, 2007, p.628). This essay will now explore the advantages and disadvantages seafood farms. The environmental impact of global fish farming on the world’s oceans and aquatic life are largely destructive. Protecting the Oceans is a video that shows widespread abuse of the oceans by jam-packing fishes and other sea creatures into limited fish farm areas. Weeks (2007) described the process of eutrophication in seafood farms. Wastes from seafood farms are discharged to the nearby environment. Algae and plankton feed on these wastes and since wastes are plenty, they exponentially multiply. High populations of algae and plankton dissolve oxygen from water, making it less capable of supporting life (Weeks, 2007, p.631). Eutrophication also damages coral reefs and sea grass beds and diminishes biodiversity (Weeks, 2007, p.631). In addition, even at a local scale, fish farms significantly pollute the waters: “An average-size salmon farm with 200,000 fish produces as much fecal matter as 65,000 people” (Weeks, 2007, p.631). The 2007 report of the Woods Hole Marine Aquaculture Task Force stressed that fish farms produced lesser pollution than other sources, but they could not determine if the ocean can easily absorb its wastes (Weeks, 2007, p.631). The U.S. also lacks guidelines for monitoring and measuring ocean water quality, so it is hard to monitor aquaculture pollution (Weeks, 2007, p.632). In addition, aquaculture can also produce
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