Feeding the burgeoning world population needs many new and innovative solutions but food safety, sensible environmental restrictions and sustainability must continue to be important.
When BSE in British Beef herds and its fatal consequence of Jacob Creutzfeldt Disease as it manifests in humans hit the headlines in the 1980s, I needed little convincing that feeding animal protein to cattle might be linked.
Nature has many barriers to disease transfer from species eating their own so feeding animal waste, often only partially heat treated, to farmed stock has inherent risks.
Hence I have some misgivings with fish farming and the recent multiple death spike at King Salmon's sounds farm is of concern.
Whenever a species is artificially constrained for any farming, disease is always a problem that can explode at any time. Crowding causes stress related disease in many humans so why would sheep, cattle, pigs, poultry and fish be any different.
I note from the accompanying news items Malasian based King Salmon is seeking a threefold increase in its operations and big is not always best, this may be an example.
Recent time along the McKenzie Canals reveals significant growth in fish farming there, but they have the advantage of continual fresh water flow through the cages, do the Sounds cages enjoy similar cleansing from ebb and flow of tides. I note one practice in Marlborough involves towing the cages out to Pelorous sound for "fresh sites with increased water flow.
I purchase the odd Salmon from the wharf at Wainui proving my concerns do not prevent me enjoying what has become an affordable source of quality fish and it always looks very appetising in the chiller at the supermarket, however this latest problem with one of our major operators of fish farming following the unfolding problems at Pacific Oysters with bacterial infections does raise red flags. Clearly the hope is that solutions are found that maintain our image as a source of safe food, and soon.
Yes my basic philosophy is one of living with nature but not as a mindless, kneejerk reaction, opposing progress.