Fish farms have earned their fair share of critics, many of whom charge that the operations are unsustainable, inhumane and produce seafood that's less nutritious than its wild equivalent. However, new research from the University of California Santa Barbara suggests that despite aquaculture's bad rep, it could be the only way to feed world's rapidly growing population.
In the report, marine biology professor Steve Gaines suggests that due to overuse of the world's arable lands and wild fishing areas, the only method to turn to for the amount of animal protein required to feed the booming population is aquaculture. Gaines, who is a lead investigator for the university's sustainable fisheries group, says that despite the current problems with fish farming, population and meat consumption are both on the rise, and aquaculture might very well be the only solution.
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According to USA Today, over the next 34 years approximately 2.4 billion additional people will be added to the world's current population of 7.5 billion. And, while the population skyrockets, the land used to grow food and raise animals will continue to deteriorate. World's sustainable ocean-based fisheries, even at maximum output, could only take on between 1-5 percent of the increased protein demand, leaving many families unfed.