The Oil Has Spilled- What’s the Next Step???

So the oil has spilled…now what?? If you are like me, you are pissed off enough to do something about it, but you are not really sure what to do! Who do we express our frustrations to?? And more importantly, what is the next step??

Unfortunately, I do not have all the answers to these questions: what I do have are some thoughts and suggestions relating to the seafood issue that this spill has raised. Everyone knows that the wild fish stocks in our oceans around the globe are declining due to overfishing, habitat destruction, and (you guessed it!) pollution. This spill will add further pressure to these stocks, contributing to their rapid collapse.

This raises a separate question entirely: if all the fish are gone from our oceans in 30 years, because of oil spills and overfishing and a plethora of other factors, where will we get our fish from? Fish is the chief source of protein for billions of people around the globe: what will they eat when all the wild fish are gone?

The answer lies in fish farming, but NOT in the conventional farming methods that I am sure just popped into your head. Like our dependence on oil, growing salmon in giant net cages NEEDS to be a thing of the past. Instead, we need to embrace the development of sustainable methods for fish farming, namely inland, recirculation systems or polyculture (growing several different species within the same system). In my opinion, these methods represent the future of fish farming: they are designed to minimize wastes (and the associated environmental impacts) and therefore are sustainable options when it comes to aquaculture.

This spill has illustrated our need for the establishment of an alternative source of clean fish: we need more fish farms, but more of the same is unacceptable. As long as we are starting from the ground up, we might as well get it right the first time with respect to the environment. Building more salmon cages is only going to propagate the issue of environmental impact…building polyculture facilities that grow several different species, all of which are raised in systems that mimic natural food webs, will shed some light on the issue of sustainability and prove that we can benefit from sustainable enterprises.

So back to the original question: now that the oil has spilled, what is the next step? I firmly believe that you will not control anyone else’s actions, only your own. Writing your senator or MP about how pissed off you are WILL make you feel better, but may not result in the types of immediate change that you are interested in. Rather, what you can do TODAY to make a difference is to climb aboard the ‘sustainable seafood’ train. There are already people and companies doing some amazing work with sustainable fish farming, and we as consumers NEED to encourage, applaud, and support these ventures. Only then can real change actually occur.

If you really want to make a difference, if you are angry about the oil and need to take action, then start small. Do some research, find out where your fish comes from, and only buy from sustainable sources. By supporting these sustainable endeavours, we are sending a message that we are ready for change. I know it sounds small and hardly worth your time, and at the end of the day you may not change the world, but you WILL change YOUR world!

9 Responses to “The Oil Has Spilled- What’s the Next Step???”

  1. opit says:

    How’s this look ?
    Aquaponics—Integration of Hydroponics with Aquaculture
    http://www.attra.org/attra-pub/aquaponic.html

  2. Molly says:

    Brian,
    Thank you for sharing your opinion and urgin others to speak their minds about the oil spill and about aquaculture. You make some very valid points about over fishing and where will our salmon and other sea creatures be if our oceans continue to be plagued by the oil spill. The polyculture facility could be a great idea. The only issue I foresee is the cost of getting it going, and continuing the facility. After examining closed containment facilities there is no way a salmon farm could survive after building the facility and keeping it running.
    Salmon are BC’s number one export and the cost of the closed containment facilities would run our economy into the ground.
    But we do need to work together to find a solution that works. Do you have any more information on the polyculture facilities and how much they cost to run?

    Thanks,
    Molly,
    Vancouver BC

  3. Brian A. says:

    Molly- thanks for reading and I appreciate your comments! You make a very valid point: the initial capital investment in setting up these more sustainable systems is much larger than for the conventional methods. This comes at a cost to the farmer, so where is their incentive for sustainability? It has to come from a higher price at market, which can ONLY be achieved if consumers perceive a higher value from the sustainable products (over the conventional ones) and are willing to pay that higher price. This shift in consumer perception will not happen overnight, but gradually people will understand the need for sustainability and be willing to pay a bit more to make sure they get it. In fact, I am currently conducting research into the differences in markets and price trends for conventional vs. sustainably-farmed seafood. My project is far from complete, but early evidence indicates that people (especially in British Columbia) will be willing to pay a higher price for seafood that they know is farmed sustainably.

    As far as closed-containment salmon farms go, you are absolutely right in saying that we aren’t there yet. But we ARE getting closer, and this drive towards sustainability will only fuel that progress.

    Unfortunately, I do not have specific figures on how much polyculture facilities cost to run, but these figures will factor into my research, so I hope to have a clearer picture of the all the economics very soon!

    Thanks again for the comments!

    Brian

  4. JohnDoe says:

    Quit using this disaster as a springboard to alleged “sustainability” in Energy. If Wind or Solar were cost effective it would already be out there gathering energy for us instead of relying on huge government subsidies. That said, I’m all for Wind, Solar, Hydro, Nuclear, and more drilling.

    While the Oil spewed into the Gulf, Obama was out playing Golf. What a disgrace, the same jackasses who blamed el Bush for a Class 5 Hurricane hitting New Orleans and their 90 year old levy system failing … won’t peep a word of blame towards Obamba.

    Its disgusting really, we have warehouses full of booms across the East Coast, 13 nations offered help, Obamba refuses to waive the “Jones Act”, skimmers are being turned away, barges with vacuum equipment have been ordered to stop because they did not have enough lifevests onboard, the sand Berms a Republican Governor wants to put on place required an “environmental Study” before being put in place … meanwhile the oil washed ashore.

    Government Bureaucracy and Red Tape on display !! You same fools want these dummies to run our Health Care?? If this happened off the East Coast I guarantee half the Navy would be out there working and they would have capped it with technology or a bomb, even nuke it, instead because there are more minorities and rednecks along the Gulf we have oil washing up everywhere … this ZERO effort is based on race, its racist.

    Its amazing how Obamba can be excused for any responsibility or action in this disaster. If Bush were in office there’d be a daily count, constant references to “Big Oil” or Halliburton …

    You people are hypocrites and a disgrace.

  5. JohnDoe says:

    How about a “sustainable budget” out of Government first huh?? It’s amazing how your piece here has not one whiff of criticism for this Administration or the forces that pushed offshore drilling out so far and so deep.

    What a disgrace, sure, BP is responsible for the spill … but Environmental Whacko’s are behind the rules and laws which forced this rig so far offshore ….

  6. Ol'Froth says:

    We had a sustainable budget under Clinton.

  7. JohnDoe says:

    Ugh, Ol’Froth what exactly did Clinton propose or do to balance the budget?? Answer=nothing …. spending increased every year, no frugality apparent, you can thank the dot bomb busters and the average American for the booming economy despite Congress and Clinton.

  8. David Katz says:

    There are two ways to balance a budge, increase revenues or decrease spending. The latter has the effect of ending government programs that provide both jobs and services for people. This can lead to economic stagnation. That said, it is sometimes necessary, but undesirable. Now, increasing revenue can be done through two ways, first by increasing taxes, which also leads to some economic stagnation as I am sure JohnDoe will agree with me on. The second is to actually grow the economy faster than the government, which is the most optimum way of doing it, as the economy does not take a hit from taxes or job losses, but instead actually grows. Clinton did exactly that, managing to preside over the largest economic growth in over a generation. Now, I am not saying that he is responsible for the economic boom. It is quite likely that he just happened to be at the right place at the right time. However, what he did have was the fiscal restraint not to spend through the roof and damn the consequences.
    Bush on the other hand dramatically increased government spending through his botched medicare supplement and two wars (one of necessity), while simultaneously decreasing the amount of revenue by providing tax cuts to the wealthiest of society. Now that is what I call irresponsible

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