Did you know that over 50% of the fish eaten in the U.S comes from aquaculture? Farming fish and shellfish provides us with an opportunity to reduce the pressure on rapidly-depleting ocean fisheries. As the world population increases, farmed fish could provide a sustainable source of protein to society, when certain practices are followed. Our CQP-certified aquaculture farms use Best Management Practices (BMPs), and other measures, to minimize their impact on native species and habitats.
Maintaining Healthy Habitats
All fish and shellfish farms in MA are prohibited from treating their waters with pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and growth stimulants that may harm the native habitat. Shellfish farmers in the Commonwealth rely on the natural conditions of the water to feed and grow their products, which minimizes their impact on the environment.
CQP growers are aware that aquaculture gear may attract other wildlife, and so they manage gear to avoid harming other species that may encounter their operations. This involves providing and maintaining buffer zones or corridors to allow safe passage of wildlife, as well as releasing any animals that may be in the gear when it is maintained.
Protecting the Natural Community
Did you know that shellfish gear can actually provide habitat to native vegetation and animal species? Research at the Southeastern Massachusetts Aquaculture Center has shown that marine species in farmed water rely on the gear for shelter. In some cases, the shellfish gear was preferred to natural habitat!
Because of the interactions between the farm and the surrounding environment, it is very important to safeguard the natural ecosystem structure. That’s why CQP-certified farms only grow native shellfish species that are not genetically modified.
A Sustainable Future
The most recent projections predict that the Earth’s population will reach 9.3 billion by 2050. With the depletion of the world’s fisheries, aquaculture has the potential to provide a sustainable food source for the growing population. As long as farmers follow Best Management Practices, farmed fish and shellfish have the potential to become one of the most environmentally-friendly sources of protein. CQP farmers are working to ensure that farmed fish and shellfish can continue to become a sustainable, healthy, and delicious food source for our Commonwealth.