by tsqui2 on April 17, 2015 - 12:38pm

As stated in past posts, “every day fisheries products are utilized all over the world: direct human/animal consumption, fish meal, fish oil, food additives, medicine etc (Bostock et al. 2010).” The majority of aquatic products come from commercial fisheries, or from wild stocks. It is evident that sustainable fishing is something of an old wives’ tale as the current demand for aquatic flora and fauna far exceeds nature’s capability of replenishing itself. Generally, when regulation is thought to be imposed, it is too late as a point of no return has been reached. There are few actions that people can do to supplement the currently increasing demand for aquatic goods: aquaculture may be the answer, however it isn’t a silver bullet.

One corporation that goes hand in hand with commercial fishing is the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation (PWSAC) located in Prince William Sound, Alaska. This institution practices pacific salmon ocean ranching: artificial reproduction of an intended species, releasing 100% of the cohort to the habitat where the broodstock was taken (PWSAC 2012). This process reduces mortality considerably and ultimately has a positive effect on adult stock population quantity. Ocean ranching supports a viable stock that is then commercially harvested by local commercial fishing operations. From 2007 to 2012, all five hatcheries included in the PWSAC produced more than $264 million dollars for commercial fisherman, not to mention the billions of dollars that changed hands between: fisherman, canneries, shipment facilities, and consumers. More than 300 million salmon eggs are included in the quota from only one of the five hatcheries, making this aquaculture facility one of the largest in the world (PWSAC 2012). There may not be a viable/profitable salmon fishery in southern Alaska if corporations like PWSAC were not around.  

An issue with aquaculture is feed given to the cultured fish… It takes fish to make fish. Generally, feed stock comes from other fish species such as carp, anchovy, and sardine. The majority of these fish species are commercially collected; therefore, making aquaculture a redundancy. However, alternative feed stocks have been implemented to get away from the reliance on commercial fishing. Terrestrial animal products, plant material, and synthesized diets have been used to produce aquaculture products but there are some downsides to these feed alternatives. Lesser growth rates, deformities, and reduced fitness are associated with the removal of fish protein and lipids from culture feed (Subhadra et al. 2006).

Our reliance on commercial fishing is everything but healthy.




Economic Impact of the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation. 2012. Juneau, Alaska. [Online]

Bostock, J., B. McAndrew., R. Richards., K. Jauncey., T. Telfer., K. Lorenzen., D. Little., L. Ross., N. Handisyde., I. Gatward, and R. Corner. 2010. Aquaculture; global status and trends Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 365:2897-2912.

Subhadra, B., R. Lochmann., S. Rawles. and R. Chen. 2006. Effect of fish-meal replacement with poultry by-product meal on the growth, tissue composition and hematological parameters of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) fed diets containing different lipids. Aquaculture 260: 221-231.

About the author

Environmental science, aquatic ecology student at the college at Brockport. PWSAC hatchery technician, research foundation research assistant