Among the genuine environmental problems getting shoved aside as the money, and attention, increasingly focus on climate change, a major one is the fishing out of the world’s oceans. And, we might add, it’s a natural consequence not of capitalism but of its absence, the lack of defined property rights that lets pirates roam (for instance China’s vast and destructive fleet). It’s also odd that for decades environmentalists and other progressives had a major hate on for “fish farming” that nevertheless has actually accounted for more than half the fish consumed globally for nearly a decade. And to be fair we ourselves are uneasy about mass monocultural agriculture including in the cattle industry. But now the New York Times, in yet another fit of Machbarkeit, decides that the right, climate-friendly way to raise fish is… on land.
We were also surprised to learn that salmon is a distant second in American seafood consumption to shrimp, but never mind. The point is that in the world of climate change, everything is bad or nearly so. Thus the Times laments that of the more than three pounds of salmon Americans eat annually per capita (and BTW the figure for beef is 58.9 pounds so Americans aren’t exactly zealous seafood enthusiasts):
“About 10 to 20 percent of this is wild Pacific salmon, most of which comes from well-managed fisheries in Alaska. But the rest is farmed fish raised in open net-pens in the ocean, a much-criticized system made even more problematic by rising water temperatures and other climate challenges.”
Since fish farming has outstripped trawling as a source of seafood it’s not entirely clear that rising water temperatures and “other climate challenges” such as, who knows, floods, are really hammering the industry. Nor is it obvious that if farmed fish are so unhealthy, “The system is also susceptible to large-scale escapes, she said, which can wreak havoc on the fragile population of wild fish.” You’d rather expect the healthy natural fish to mock their withered, flea-infested, off-kilter moribund city cousins. But again, never mind. What the Times really frets about is, you guessed it, the massive carbon footprint of fish farming, as with everything else alarmists dislike which is nearly everything normal people do.
Where does it come from? Ah. Glad you asked. See:
“Another major concern is the industry’s carbon footprint. Because it’s most valuable when sold fresh, most of America’s farmed salmon, imported from Chile and Norway, is flown in. Only 2 percent is farmed domestically. (Wild Pacific salmon, which is flash-frozen and shipped by boat, has a much lower environmental cost.)”
So the big issue isn’t fish farming. It’s fish flying. Which just like the problem of climate alarmists flying about to conferences in order to gabble aimlessly instead of using videoconferencing technology is not exactly unavoidable but is certainly odd.
Now for the totally unsurprising kicker with regard to this new, odd, planet-saving technology: “these farms face steep challenges to making a profit.” Oh well. They could always add a few windmills or something. Though apparently someone in Israel has a process for custom-printing fish and other steaks where you select the fat content and stuff instead of letting dopey old nature design your meat. Sure beats that nasty business of getting your beef from a cow and your fish from the sea.