Cod, a favourite fish for those that eat seafood in the Northern hemisphere, but for decades cod numbers have been in rapid decline due to its popularity. Is cod farming the answer?
The world’s first attempt at organic cod farming up in the Shetlands (UK) recently failed due to financial difficulties. Report. It has since been sold on to a salmon farming venture. There are a few non-organic cod farms in the UK but the real growth is up in Norway. They held their 7th Annual Cod Farming Conference in February.
The Atlantic Cod: The Potential For Farming In Shetland , an article by Jon Weldon and published by North Atlantic Fisheries College, clearly sees potential for cod farming;
Cod stocks have now declined to unprecedented levels and are now considered to be below safe biological levels in many areas. In response a great deal of research into cod farming has been carried out in Norway, Canada, and the UK. This research has enabled pilot-scale commercial production and low volumes of farmed cod have already reached the UK market. These initial batches of market-sized fish have met with a favourable response from retailers and consumers alike. Production methods and practices are rapidly being improved and it is hoped that in the near future a year-round supply of premium quality farmed cod will become available.
Environmentalists however claim pollution from cod farms could endanger already depleted Atlantic salmon and sea trout populations. The warning follows recent research showing that cultivated cod discharge 50 percent more waste into coastal waters than farmed salmon. Both the Scottish Government and European Commission are committed to significantly increased levels of fish farming.
It’s a difficult call as people need their protein but there is no point in decimating wild stocks of fish still further through pollution and disease from fish farming. It may be that the answer is to position these farms away from lochs and river mouths.