Muhammed Saidul Islam on Why Farmed Fish Costs More Than You Think

fresh-fish-for-sale-1342715-mIf your New Year’s resolution was to eat healthier or lose weight, you mostly likely came across advice to eat more fish. The American Heart Association, for example, recommends 3.5 oz servings of fatty fish two times a week. But things can get a little confusing at the grocery store when you’re faced with the dilemma of getting a piece of salmon labelled “wild caught” or “farmed.” What’s the difference? Why not go with the cheaper option?

In the latest issue of World Future Review, associate editor Rick Docksai interviewed Muhammed Saidul Islam, author of “Confronting the Blue Revolution: Industrial Aquaculture and Sustainability in the Global South.” In the interview on aquaculture business, Docksai and Islam discuss sustainability, workplace conditions, marketing schemes, and more.

In coastal communities throughout the developing world, farmers are WFR_72ppiRGB_powerpointcordoning off swaths of beaches, lakes, and rivers to cultivate stocks of fish, shellfish, and shrimp for markets in the more affluent parts of the globe. These “aquaculture” industries, as the fish farms are known, satisfy a massive global consumer demand for seafood while bringing considerable business profits to the farmers and distributors who make their livelihoods in them. But the business carries a heavy price for the communities in which the aquaculture industries set up shop, according to Muhammed Saidul Islam, an assistant professor of sociology at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Islam investigates the expansion of aquaculture businesses up-close in his new book, Confronting the Blue Revolution: Industrial Aquaculture and Sustainability in the Global South (University of Toronto Press, 2014), and finds widespread destruction of marine estuaries, wetlands, and coastal forests in their wake. What’s more, nearby farmlands and subsistence fishing industries have been ruined as a result of these aquaculture farms, to the point where whole communities have risen up in protests—protests that local governments have often suppressed with shockingly brutal force. Meanwhile, the farms are dependent on large cadres of impoverished workers who suffer many overuse injuries and debilitating infections due to slavishly long hours, poor sanitation, and lack of health care.

You can read “The Hidden Cost of Seafood: An Interview with Muhammed Saidul Islam” from World Future Review. for free by clicking here. Like what you read? Click here to sign up for e-alerts and have all the latest news and research from World Future Review sent directly to your inbox!

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