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Fish: Factory farms

fish catch

Causes: Rising demand for fish

Foodprint on fish: Depletion of oceans, Bycatch, Toxic water quality, Confinement, Overcrowded conditions, Artificial lighting, Diseases, Abuses during transport & slaughter

The increase in demand and the destruction of oceans, has lead to the rapid growth of the aquaculture industry. Fish are now being confined to the same levels of confinement & toxic living conditions as other factory farmed animals.

As per the UN, over 80% of global fishing stocks are either fully depleted or overexploited. This has lead to a large increase in the share of aquaculture, which now accounts for almost half of all fish consumed globally, with a rapidly increasing share. 

Conditions for fish in aquaculture farms, are similar to the abuses faced by other farm animals. Fish are raised in overcrowded, filthy ponds with varying water temperatures and artificial lighting. All of this leads to significantly increased stress levels, diseases and mortalities for fish raised in aquaculture farms. 

Did you know?

Recent research has proven that not only do fish feel pain, but they also have intelligence, long-term memories, the ability to use tools and form sophisticated social structures.

  • Giant ships are now using state-of-the-art sonar to pinpoint schools of fish quickly and accurately. Using methods like bottom trawling and long-lining, these fleets are capable of wiping out entire fisheries in a single season. Picture source: web commons
    Giant ships are now using state-of-the-art sonar to pinpoint schools of fish quickly and accurately. Using methods like bottom trawling and long-lining, these fleets are capable of wiping out entire fisheries in a single season. Picture source: web commons
  • Every year, millions of non-target fish (termed 'by-catch') get entangled in nets, and are thrown back into the sea dead or injured. These include many endangered species, including sharks, dolphins and sea-turtles. Picture source: web commons
    Every year, millions of non-target fish (termed 'by-catch') get entangled in nets, and are thrown back into the sea dead or injured. These include many endangered species, including sharks, dolphins and sea-turtles. Picture source: web commons
  • World fisheries are suffering. As per the United Nations, over 80% of global fishing stocks are either fully or overexploited. Picture source: UN FAO
    World fisheries are suffering. As per the United Nations, over 80% of global fishing stocks are either fully or overexploited. Picture source: UN FAO
  • Rising demand for fish and rapidly depleting oceans, has resulted in aquaculture providing almost half of all fish consumed globally, with a rapidly increasing share. Picture source: UN FAO
    Rising demand for fish and rapidly depleting oceans, has resulted in aquaculture providing almost half of all fish consumed globally, with a rapidly increasing share. Picture source: UN FAO
  • Water quality in aquaculture is consistently deteriorating. Accumulation of waste leads to an increase in levels of ammonia, nitrate, nitrite and suspended solids, leading to impaired gill and kidney function in fish. Picture source: web commons
    Water quality in aquaculture is consistently deteriorating. Accumulation of waste leads to an increase in levels of ammonia, nitrate, nitrite and suspended solids, leading to impaired gill and kidney function in fish. Picture source: web commons
  • Aquaculture ponds tend to be overcrowded, to maximise profits. Aggression resulting out of overstocking, leads to increased stress levels, increased mortality rates and adverse physiological effects on fish. Picture source: web commons
    Aquaculture ponds tend to be overcrowded, to maximise profits. Aggression resulting out of overstocking, leads to increased stress levels, increased mortality rates and adverse physiological effects on fish. Picture source: web commons
  • Removing fish from water and asphyxiating them in air, lead to very strong escape behaviours and severe stress responses. Once out of the water, fish suffocate rather like we would do if held underwater. In their death throes fish writhe, gasping and flapping their gills as they desperately try to get oxygen. Picture source: web commons
    Removing fish from water and asphyxiating them in air, lead to very strong escape behaviours and severe stress responses. Once out of the water, fish suffocate rather like we would do if held underwater. In their death throes fish writhe, gasping and flapping their gills as they desperately try to get oxygen. Picture source: web commons
  • In modern fishing fleets, thousands of fish pile up crushing the ones below with an overwhelming force. The frightened suffocated fish struggle and attempt to escape from the net causing further injuries. Picture source: web commons
    In modern fishing fleets, thousands of fish pile up crushing the ones below with an overwhelming force. The frightened suffocated fish struggle and attempt to escape from the net causing further injuries. Picture source: web commons