I've been struggling with what "ethical" fish farming could look like. I have some friends who work at fish farms in East Africa and have tried to convince me that the farms are really quite good from an environmental and animal welfare perspective.
I thought this would be a good chance to clean up my beliefs about fish farming by pressure testing the question: "What would it take for me to be convinced that a fish farm was not unethical, and that it was fine to eat fish from it?"
- Fish feel pain when they are slaughtered without being stunned (e.g., killed slowly by cutting gills of frozen to death)
- Fish suffer in crowded and polluted water
- When fish feed comes from smaller fish, there are environmental impacts of wild-catching smaller fish for feed
- Food is sometimes withheld before slaughter to empty the gut
- “Under farming conditions, fish are often unable to express their natural behaviors. For instance, tilapia, a nesting species, are generally unable to form nests when raised in barren aquaculture tanks or ponds.”
- As a result of being genetically engineered, fish may live generally more painful lives. And these engineered fish may also escape and cause havoc on the gene pool of wild fish
I'd be curious to get views from vegetarians on the forum: If there was a fish farm that systematically addressed all these concerns, would you feel comfortable eating fish from it? If not, are there other concerns that if added to the list and addressed, would satisfy you?