In the USA the public perception of aquaculture has suffered from an image problem over the years. While the industry has taken huge steps to address this, consumers’ understanding of the provenance of farmed fish is still lagging behind, says Aaron Orlowski, writing for The Fish Site.
When large-scale commercial aquaculture started expanding in the United States several decades ago, it had problems. Overcrowded fish enclosures. Large amounts of excrement fouling waters. Excessive use of antibiotics.
Those environmentally harmful practices resulted in fish farmers suffering from an image problem. And even though practices have improved dramatically since then, the negative perception lingers.
“In the early days, a lot of mistakes were made,” says Dr Michael Rubino, the director of the Office of Aquaculture at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service. But even as practices have changed, “the public hasn’t caught up with the 20 years of learning that has gone on in aquaculture. We have a lot of experience of what to do and what not to do.”