Soy harvest. (Photo: Food & Water Watch)
Report condemns use of soy in fish feed
Wednesday, July 04, 2012, 22:50 (GMT + 9)
Genetically modified (GM) soy is now being used in feed for farmed fish -- and Food & Water Watch smells trouble.
Food & Water Watch has released a study called Factory-Fed Fish: How the Soy Industry is Expanding into the Sea, which postulates that while the US soy industry may make hefty profits from the expansion of its product into fish farming, the shift from wild fish to soy in fish feed does not actually ensure the fish produced will be consistently healthy, or even that the practice of using soy in feed will promote ecological responsibility.
In fact, the report notes, because fish fed soy produces more waste, using soy in fish feed -- instead of fishmeal and oil -- could result in an even larger pollution load on the environment surrounding these farms.
|Soy plant. (Photo: Food & Water Watch )
As 94 per cent of the soy grown in the US (and in many other countries) is genetically engineered (GE) and because in open ocean aquaculture, uneaten feed flows into the sea, feeding soy to farmed fish will allow GM good to enter the environment and be eaten by wild fish populations.
In September 2011, the Illinois Soybean Association issued a press release announcing a new marine fish farm project that would “revolutionise sustainable agriculture.” It was referring to soy-based fish feed.
However, Food & Water Watch says that there has been little public scrutiny of the claims made about soy constituting a sustainable alternative to feed based on wild fish. Factory-Fed Fish is the first report to address the relationship between the soy and “factory fish farming” industries, the group states.
The NGO uses its report to express concerns that the soy industry’s collaboration with aquaculture will exacerbate the negative effects of both sectors by continuing to degrade marine habitats and threaten wild fish stocks and coastal communities -- and also foster massive deforestation and the spread of genetically modified crops in the US and abroad.
In addition, the report explores the following problems with using soy for fish feed: issues of indigestibility and nutrient deficiency, potential impacts of the marine environment, missing omega-3s, and issues with soy consumption in human diets.
Food & Water Watch recommends that consumers limit their consumption to wild seafood from well-managed fisheries or sustainable aquaculture operations, and oppose federal agencies’ efforts to allow commercial fish farming operations in US waters.
- Soybean farmers push for progress in aquaculture sector
By Natalia Real