Most seafood is more climate-friendly than its terrestrial counterparts. But the latest controversies run deeper than simply wild-caught vs farmed.

Mark Harris, Anthropocene Magazine: September 11, 2023

Seafood production has quadrupled over the past 50 years, and almost all the extra fish have come from a rapidly growing aquaculture industry. Wild fish catches have remained largely stagnant since the 1990s. So, what does that all mean for carbon?

Currently, if you swap a weekly beef burger for a fish sandwich, you’ll slash your meal’s carbon footprint by a factor of five and significantly reduce your chance of dying from heart disease to boot.

That’s great. But there are many moving parts in the blue food equation. Overfishing and declining stocks mean that every fish takes more energy to catch than it did before. Fish farmers promise lower carbon seafood from ever larger operations, but they also have huge problems sourcing sustainable feeds. And then there’s the elusive white whale of zero-carbon seafood alternatives that avoid the ocean altogether.


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