WHILE SOME ASSERT that farming fish in cages at sea is the only sustainable way to meet the growing global demand for seafood, the reality is that the practice is far from sustainable. Producing fish in nets and cages in the open ocean contributes to the degradation of the world’s seas, marine life, and ecosystems. These cramped facilities—akin to industrial animal factories on land—pollute the environment far beyond the places where they are located. The egregious harms caused by fish farms at sea demonstrate their unacceptability as an organic system of production.
Despite this track record of ecological harm, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program is poised to release standards for raising certified organic fish and it is seriously considering allowing fish farmed at sea to be certified organic. Yet, based upon Center for Food Safety’s extensive research of ocean-based fish farms, it is clear such facilities can never be certified organic
because of the ecological damage they cause. Food production systems must not demonstrably harm the environment or human health and ocean-based fish farms cannot meet that high bar.