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How Are Fishing and Aquaculture Similar to Agriculture? - 13 May 2014

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Tuesday 13th May 2014.
Sarah Mikesell - TheCropSite Senior Editor

Sarah Mikesell
Senior Editor



How Are Fishing and Aquaculture Similar to Agriculture? 

Greetings! It’s been a stormy few days across the Midwest with significant rainfall. Despite that, USDA’s Crop Progress report showed Monday that the top 18 corn-growing states are now 59 per cent planted, jumping 30 percentage points from last week.

This puts planted corn on target with the 5-year average of 58 per cent planted. The three “I” states – Iowa, Indiana and Illinois – each made significant progress jumping 35 to 45 percentage points.

Soybeans planted sits at 20 per cent, up from last week’s 5 per cent planted but in-line with the 5-year average of 21 per cent planted. Cotton planted also made a jump to 30 per cent, up over 16 percent from last week. This week, winter wheat condition slipped to 58 percent fair, good, or excellent, under last week's 62 per cent.

On Friday, I attended the Sustainable Seafood Industry Day in New York City, hosted by Future of Fish and Sustainable Seafood Week NYC. I was covering the event for our sister site –

So you may be thinking… I really don’t have time to think about fish. I’ll tell you I was quite surprised to see that the fishing and aquaculture world has much in common with agriculture. In fact, it was like déjà vu.

One panel was about traceability and transparency. Another was about the benefits of buying local and building demand for the entire supply of fish that is being caught – not just cod, haddock, salmon – the ones that you’re familiar with. Another panel covered sustainability and how aquaculture can play a role in supplying protein globally.

Consumers want traceability and transparency. Restaurant owners likely hear these requests for detailed information more often than others. Oceana conducted one of the largest seafood investigations in the US and through DNA testing found that one-third (33%) of seafood samples were mislabeled.

One speaker said “between sustainability and traceability, worry about traceability first because without traceability, it’s all about trust.”

Another panelist said connecting a story to food holds power and can earn trust and loyalty.

During the sustainability panel, a speaker said sustainable aquaculture involves getting quality feed and a profitable feed conversion rate.

Barton Seaver, one of the panelists, said “I don't believe there is unsustainable seafood. There's only unsustainable demand.”

Do any of these statements sound familiar?

Sure, I knew there were industry similarities to growing fish vs. livestock vs. crops. But I have heard A LOT of these statements sitting in crop and livestock meetings. Same topics debated in perhaps a slightly different way – but not that different from what I heard on Friday.

It’s a reminder that we have to seek out successes and failures in other industries and use that knowledge and experience to move agriculture forward.

A few more fish factoids… more than 90% of the seafood consumed in the US is imported and less than 1% is inspected by the government specifically for fraud.

Americans only eat 12 pounds of fish per year; seafood consumption has seen a steady decline over the past seven years.

Find me on Twitter @SarahMikesell

Have a safe week!


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