Scientists predict that we will need 70 to 100 percent more food to feed the global population by the year 2050. The need for more environmentally friendly sources of protein is clear. According to a new study in the scientific journal Solutions, bivalves — which include mussels, clams, and oysters — may be the answer.
“Aquaculture must reduce its pressure on wild-caught fish for feed,” Jennifer Jacquet writes in the Guardian. “One way to do this is to farm animals lower on the food web that require little to no feed, such as freshwater carps, tilapia, and bivalves.”
In response, the bivalve industry is growing. Unfortunately, some sectors of aquaculture — which includes the keeping of bivalves — are growing the wrong way.
“When it comes to aquaculture, we can avoid making the same mistakes that we made on land,” writes Jacquet. “If we continue to mass produce animals, it would be best to mass produce animals that are as plant-like as possible. They should not require fish feed, should not require conversion of habitat, and should minimize pollution. They should experience the least amount of pain and suffering in captivity as possible.”
This is a chance to learn from the mistakes of past and current practices and pursue sustainable aquaculture moving forward.