Friday, February 12, 2016

TED Talk: Future Sustainable Protein Source is Fish Farming/Aquaculture by Mike Velings

This hopeful and very convincing TED talk by Mike Velings (Netherlands) makes a sound case for fish farming as the one hopeful alternative for feeding the planet protein. He cites statistics that in the past fifty years we've quadrupled our human protein consumption from 71 million tons to 310 million tons of meats, and milk, and eggs, and that this demand will keep going up rapidly as nations become richer and human population grows. Now, 2.6 billion people's protein source is from the ocean. We're depleting ocean fish stocks severely and alarmingly by overfishing. Quoting Jacques Cousteau, he sees the solution in aquaculture, or fish farming. Fish are healthy meat and help prevent heart disease. His enlightenment about seeing fish farming as the solution came from a Mission Blue trip with Sylvia Earle. He and his wife (who he met on the trip) decided they wanted to make a difference in ocean conservation and that fish farming was the right direction to go.

Twice as much fish tonnage was consumed last year than beef. Last year, 2015, was the first year in which aquaculture produced more fish protein than what was caught in the wild. There is an enormous amount of demand going up rapidly.

Fish is the most resource efficient animal protein available other than insects.

Yet, aquaculture has a very bad reputation so far, has been polluting, badly managed, and has consumed a large percent of our anchovy and sardine populations for fish meal.

There have been great new technologies that overcome these problems. We are seeing a "blue revolution". A new sustainable fish feed has been developed which is perfectly natural that consists of microbes, micro algae, seaweeds, and insects. He explains to us that using microbes and insects is a revolution that is starting, and now, it just needs scale.

"Great technologies are popping up all over the globe," Velings says. We just need entrepreneurs to get behind this industry, as much of the growth is still ahead. To help, every consumer needs to ask for information about where our fish comes from and what it ate - this information must become much more available.

To learn more, see this article about his venture, Aqua-Spark.