(1)The End of The Line (2)Sixty Years And Counting


The End of the Line
Thursday, Jul. 07, 2011
By Bryan Walsh

Fish are the last wild food, but our oceans are being picked clean. Can farming fish take the place of catching them?

Josh Goldman runs a fish farm, but the hangar-size facility in the western Massachusetts town of Turners Falls looks a lot less like a farm than a factory. Thousands of one-third-pound barramundi — an omnivorous fish native to Southeast Asia and Australia — swim in a 36-ft.-diameter tank that resembles a supersize kiddie pool. They spend their days fattening up on feed pellets under the watchful eyes of factory workers — farmers, if you must — who grade them for size. After several weeks of careful feeding, the fish are moved via an industrial waterslide — the pescalator, Goldman calls it — to a larger tank in the plant's next cavernous room. The assembly line runs until the barramundi have been raised to market weight, about 2 lb., after which they're sent off to white-tablecloth seafood restaurants and sustainability-minded retail outlets across the U.S.

From the moment the barramundi are hatched, from eggs barely one-hundredth of an inch long to the day they're sold, they never swim in a river or sea, never hunt for food, never feel the tug of a fishing line. "We're producing great-quality fish without harming the oceans or anything else," Goldman says of his operation, Australis Aquaculture. His barramundi aren't caught; they're manufactured. And factories like these might represent the last, best chance for fish to have a future.

Since human beings first took up the plow about 10,000 years ago, most of our food has come from the farmer's hand. We grew fruits, vegetables and grains to feed ourselves and support those domesticated animals we relied on for meat and dairy products. But there was an exception. When humans fished, we still went out into the wild, braved the elements and brought back decidedly undomesticated animals for dinner. There was a romance to fishing that was inseparable from the romance of the sea, a way of life — for all its peril and terror — suffused with a freedom that the farmer and rancher would never know. Though the fishermen who roved the Sea of Galilee in Jesus' time and the factory trawlers that scrape the ocean floor today couldn't be more different, they share a common link to our hunter-gatherer past. "Fish are the last wild food," says Paul Greenberg, author of Four Fish, one of the best books on the state of seafood. "And we're just realizing it."

But we may be coming to that realization too late, because it turns out that even the fathomless depths of the oceans have limits. The U.N. reports that 32% of global fish stocks are overexploited or depleted and as much as 90% of large species like tuna and marlin have been fished out in the past half-century. Once-plentiful species like Atlantic cod have been fished to near oblivion, and delicacies like bluefin tuna are on an arc toward extinction. A recent report by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean found that the world's marine species faced threats "unprecedented in human history" — and overfishing is part of the problem.

Meanwhile, the worldwide catch seems to have plateaued at about 90 million tons a year since the mid-1990s. That's a lot of fish, but even if those levels prove sustainable, it's not enough to keep up with global seafood consumption, which has risen from 22 lb. per person per year in the 1960s to nearly 38 lb. today. With hundreds of millions of people joining the middle class in the developing world and fish increasingly seen as a tasty and heart-healthy form of protein, that trend will continue. The inescapable conclusion: there just isn't enough seafood in the seas. "The wild stocks are not going to keep up," says Stephen Hall, director general of the WorldFish Center. "Something else has to fill that gap."

Something else already does: aquaculture. Humans have been raising some fish in farms for almost as long as we've been fishing, beginning with Chinese fishponds 4,000 years ago. But it's only in the past 50 years that aquaculture has become a true industry. Global aquacultural production increased from less than 1 million tons in 1950 to 52.5 million tons in 2008, and over the past few decades, aquaculture has grown faster than any other form of food production. Today about half the seafood consumed around the world comes from farms, and with the projected rise in global seafood consumption, that proportion will surely increase. Without aquaculture, the pressure to overfish the oceans would be even greater. "It's no longer a question about whether aquaculture is something we should or shouldn't embrace," says Ned Daly, senior projects adviser at the Seafood Choices Alliance. "It's here. The question is how we'll do it."

That's not an easy question to answer, because the rapid growth of aquaculture has been accompanied by environmental costs. In the past, the dense salmon farms of Canada and northern Europe helped spread disease among wild fish while releasing waste into coastal waters. Mangrove forests, which provide a valuable habitat for coastal life, have been razed to make way for Thailand's shrimp farms. Especially troubling, many of the most popular farmed species are carnivores, meaning they need to be fed at least partly with other fish. By one count, about 2 lb. of wild fish ground up to make fish meal is needed on average to produce 1 lb. of farmed fish, which leaves the ocean at a net loss. "Aquaculture's reliance on fish meal and fish oil is a major concern for marine conservation," says Sebastian Troeng, a marine expert with Conservation International.

But unless you can convince 1.3 billion Chinese — not to mention everyone else in a growing world — that they don't deserve the occasional sushi roll, aquaculture will keep growing. As it does, it will need to become more efficient and less polluting. The good news is that the industry is improving. More farmable but less familiar species like the barramundi — which yields more protein than it takes in as feed — may have to supplement popular fish like cod that haven't taken as well to aquaculture. We may even need to genetically engineer popular species to make them grow faster and bigger. And perhaps most of all, we need to accept that on a planet with a population of nearly 7 billion and climbing, we may no longer be able to indulge our taste for the last wild food. We've farmed the land. Now we have little choice but to farm the sea as well.

< Aquaculture and Its Discontents >
To the average shopper, farmed fish is barely distinguishable from its wild cousin — except, often, in price. Without the growth in aquaculture, many of our favorite kinds of seafood would likely be much more expensive than they are now. And chances are, you get what you paid for: farmed seafood can be inferior to wild fish in taste and may not always have the same nutritional value. Salmon raised in an aquaculture environment, for instance, often have lower levels of cardiovascular-friendly omega-3s than wild fish, and farmed fillets would actually be gray without a pink chemical dye. And if you're eating farmed seafood, you're almost certainly getting it from overseas: U.S. aquaculture accounts for just 5% of Americans' seafood consumption. The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program mostly discourages consumers from choosing farmed fish, both for health reasons and because of worries over the environmental impact of aquaculture. "There's a real difference in the regulation you might see in other countries compared with the U.S.," says Peter Bridson, Monterey's aquaculture-research manager.

At the same time, it's important to look at the big picture. For health reasons, most of us should be eating more fish. For its new dietary guidelines, the U.S. government just upped the recommended consumption of seafood to 8 oz. or more a week — which is more than twice what the average American eats — and 12 oz. for pregnant women. In a report this month, the U.N. said global food production would need to increase by as much as 100% by 2050 to meet growing demand — and seafood, as a vital protein source, will have to be part of that. Farming is unavoidable. "There may be a price split between expensive wild fish and cheaper farmed fish," says Don Perkins, head of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. "But seafood consumption will spread because we need it for health reasons."

To understand global aquaculture — its potential and its problems — it helps to look at the industry's track record in China, a country responsible for 61% of the world's aquaculture. China has begun exporting industrially produced catfish, shrimp and tilapia in recent years. As production pressures have ramped up, Chinese manufacturers have packed their ponds more tightly, leading to disease and pollution from fish waste. That waste can overload coastal waters with nutrients, causing dead zones that can strangle sea life. To fight the diseases worsened by crowding, Chinese fish farmers have liberally used antibiotics and other drugs, including malachite green, an antifungal agent and potential carcinogen that was banned by Beijing in 2002 but shows up periodically in exports. "It is still a problem," says Wong Ming Hung, a biology professor at Hong Kong Baptist University.

While China remains a laggard on safety — though experts say its fish-farming industry is improving as it matures — there's no denying that aquaculture can be messy. A badly run near-shore farm of 200,000 salmon can flush nitrogen and phosphorus into the water at levels equal to the sewage from a town of 20,000 people. But for all that, fish farming's bad reputation isn't entirely deserved, especially if it's compared with farming on land.

Farmers have had thousands of years to improve agricultural methods and breed domesticated animals like cows and pigs with maximum efficiency. And industrial agriculture can be polluting: the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is due largely to fertilizer runoff from the Midwest. Modern aquaculture is just a few decades old, and as producers have become more experienced, they've cut down on pollution and bred more-efficient fish. Many environmental groups that once opposed aquaculture now seek to work with the industry. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is leading the way in this effort, helping develop sustainability standards for farmed species. "Our industry is under a lot of scrutiny, and we're doing our best to alleviate those worries," says Nell Halse of Cooke Aquaculture, a major producer in Canada and the U.S.

And no matter how much room the industry has for improvement, aquaculture usually puts less stress on the environment and requires less caloric input to yield a pound of protein than meat production. Part of that is simply a result of biomechanics and metabolism. Unlike land animals raised for food, fish are cold-blooded and live in the water, which means less of their feed is wasted — from our point of view — being burned as energy to keep warm or to build bone. Fish farmers had the bad luck to come along after industrial meat production was well established, and the new guy on the block gets more scrutiny. "We have to address the environmental and social issues," says Jose Villalon, director of the WWF's aquaculture program. "But aquaculture is a good tool to deal with food security."

One way to address those issues is to build an aquacultural system that mimics nature, in which the waste produced by farmed fish is put to use. Thierry Chopin, a biologist at the University of New Brunswick, wants to take advantage of that principle with his integrated multitrophic aquaculture (IMTA). In an IMTA loop, species like salmon and shrimp are raised less densely than in conventional aquaculture, together with seaweed and shellfish like mussels. The waste from the farmed species fertilizes the seaweed, which can be harvested for use in fish feed. The mussels, which are filter feeders, can gobble waste in the water, preventing pollution from building up. The result is more biomass and less waste — just as nature intended. "If it functions as an ecosystem does," says Chopin, "then it functions right."

Even an aquacultural system more in tune with nature still faces essential challenges, including the feed-ratio problem. When producers began raising fish intensively, they picked species that people like to eat: salmon and sea bass. But those species are high on the food chain, and raising them on a farm is a bit like trying to domesticate tigers. The aquaculture industry has gotten better at replacing fish meal with plant-based feed, but not fast enough. You're not feeding the world sustainably if you need to remove the base of the marine food chain to do it. "The question of what the fish will eat is central to aquaculture," says Australis' Goldman. "We can't grow on the back of small forage fish."

< A Fish and a Dream >
The answer might be simply to find a better fish, one more suited to farming. This is exactly what Goldman set out to do. He got into aquaculture in the 1980s as a college student and had a tilapia-farming operation for a few years. But while tilapia are more sustainable than many other fish because they're vegetarians, they lack the high amounts of omega-3 oils that make salmon so heart-healthy. Goldman tried striped bass but found them too fussy to raise. It wasn't until a chance encounter with an Australian entrepreneur that he found his dream fish: the barramundi.

As a farmed species, the barramundi is just about perfect. It can survive in a wide variety of environments and lays eggs frequently. It has a flexible diet, and much like its fellow Australians, it is laid-back by nature, so it can endure the rigors of farming. Goldman launched Australis in Turners Falls in 2004 and was producing barramundi commercially by 2005. The fish is rich in omega-3 oils; Dr. Oz named it one of his top superfoods in 2010. Less than 20% of the barramundi's feed at Australis comes from fish meal and fish oil — a better percentage than for many farmed salmon, which can require as much as 50% of their feed from fish meal. The Turners Falls operation is an indoor, closed recirculating system, so there's little waste, little risk of disease and no threat that the barramundi will escape into the wild. Plus, barramundi tastes good, with the flaky mouthfeel of the better-known sea bass. Goldman's real challenge is convincing Americans — with their appetite for shrimp, tuna and salmon — that they should eat an unfamiliar Australian fish. "Selling it as sustainable helps," he says. "But once they try it, people like it."

Australis' barramundi has become so popular, in fact, that Goldman has expanded production — but not in Massachusetts. While the closed recirculating system he uses in Turners Falls is an environmentalist's dream, Goldman eventually wanted to reach a larger market at a lower cost, a step that he decided required an outdoor operation on the central coast of Vietnam. That branch, where barramundi are raised in sea cages in a protected bay, isn't quite as green as Turners Falls, but it's cheaper.

Land-based systems may work for more premium species, and they offer the chance to raise fish close to cities. In New York State, for instance, a company called Local Ocean produces indoor-farmed sea bass and flounder two hours from Manhattan. But such systems are still more experimental than economical. "As much as the NGOs would have loved it, [Australis] just couldn't meet the economics of an expensive indoor environment," says Goldman.

< Rise of the Frankenfish >
Many NGOs would also like us all to choose farmed fish more judiciously, selecting sustainable species low on the food chain. There's not a lot of evidence that's going to happen, however. But if we won't always choose the fish that take better to farming, another option is to take the fish we like and engineer them into sustainability. Fish farmers have been doing that quite naturally for the past few years, breeding salmon and other species so they grow faster and require less fish meal — something farmers on land have done for hundreds of years with cattle, pigs and chicken. The Massachusetts-based biotech company AquaBounty wants to take that breeding process a step further by genetically engineering Atlantic salmon that can grow up to twice as fast as conventional fish. Its product, the AquAdvantage salmon, contains a gene from the chinook salmon, a larger cousin that lives in cold northern waters. That gene activates a growth hormone, with obvious commercial benefits for farmers who want to get their fish to market weight quickly. "America imports its seafood at the cost of a huge carbon footprint," says Ronald Stotish, AquaBounty's CEO. "This could make it economical to raise land-based salmon domestically. This is sustainability." ("The Mighty Shark, Flirting with Extinction.")

The Food and Drug Administration convened a panel of experts last fall to review the genetically modified (GM) salmon, and they were mostly satisfied with AquaBounty's proposal. But while the FDA hasn't yet decided whether to approve what would be the first genetically modified food animal, most environmental groups are staunchly against what they've termed the Frankenfish. They worry about the possible effect on human health, and they're concerned that if GM salmon escape into the wild — as conventionally farmed salmon do all the time — they might outcompete wild salmon.

While AquaBounty has pledged to ensure that the GM salmon will be kept sterile and produced in confinement, critics fear that something will go wrong. (As a government scientist wrote in a leaked e-mail, "Maybe [the FDA] should watch Jurassic Park.") "Absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence," says Zach Corrigan, fish-program director for Food & Water Watch. "The regulation isn't there."

Even if GM salmon doesn't succeed in North America, it might find a home in China or another fish-hungry country where knee-jerk resistance to transgenic technology isn't so strong. And newer, better GM fish are being engineered in labs right now, including a transgenic trout that can pack on 15% to 20% more muscle than a conventional fish. But the very fact that we can ponder these issues shows how much our relationship with the last wild food has changed. For thousands of years, fishermen risked the elements to bring back the bounty of the sea. Fishing is the deadliest job in the U.S.: in 2009, 0.2% of fishermen died hauling in our seafood, compared with 0.01% of miners who died on the job. But that danger is also part of the allure, as the success of TV shows like The Deadliest Catch and books like The Perfect Storm demonstrates. "Fishermen are the last commercial hunters in the world," says Sebastian Belle, director of the Maine Aquaculture Association, who has seen unemployed New England fishermen take up aquaculture. "They had the excitement of never knowing what they were going to get."

With 7 billion people, however, the planet doesn't have much space for such freedom. It's not that commercial fishing will disappear; in fact, sustainable fisheries like Alaska's wild-salmon industry may even produce boutique foods, finally earning what they're worth. There's no doubt that something will be lost in the transition to mass aquaculture, as fish — the last true wild food — are domesticated to support human beings, in much the same way we tamed cattle, pigs and chickens thousands of years ago. But if we're all going to survive and thrive in a crowded world, we'll need to cultivate the seas just as we do the land. If we do it right, aquaculture can be one more step toward saving ourselves. And if we do it well, we may even enjoy the taste of it.

< 魚の行きつく先は >



約1万年前に人類が初めて鋤を手にしてから、我々の食料のほとんどは農民によって供給されてきた。果実や野菜や穀物を育て、人々の食料や、食肉や乳製品を生産するための家畜の餌にしてきた。しかし例外があった。魚を獲る時は、やはり海原へと乗りだし、自然の脅威と勇敢に戦って、決然と野生の獲物を夕餉に供するのだった。魚を獲ることには海への憧れと結びついたロマンがあったし、死の危険と恐怖が隣り合わせであるにも関わらず、農夫や牧童が決して知ることのない自由で充たされた生き様があった。イエスの時代にガラリア湖を流浪した漁師と、海底を浚っていく現代の産業化されたトロール漁船の労働者は、様変わりしたとはいえ、共に狩猟採集民を先祖にもつ。「魚は最後の天然の食料です」とシーフードの現況について著した最良の本の一つ「4種の魚(Four Fish)」の著者ポール・グリーンバーグは言う。「そして今我々は、そのことにやっと気づきつつあるのです」






< 水産養殖とその問題点 >








< 魚には夢がある >




< 奇怪な魚の生産 >


アクアバウンティはGMサーモンを無精卵かつ密閉状態で養殖すると約束しているが、事故が起きるのではないかと反対派は言う(政府関係の科学者は漏えいしたメールで「(FDAは)ジェラシックパークを見るべきだ」と書いた)。「証明の不在は、不在の証明ではない」と食と水の監視(FOOD & WATER WATCH)のための魚類プログラム・ディレクターであるザック・コリガンは言う。「規制はないのです」



Sixty Years and Counting
Monday, Jun. 28, 2010
By Bill Powell
Dcades of conflict on the Korean peninsula could end if China so wished

South Korean Suh Se Jun has seen her two younger siblings just once in the past 60 years. On the day the Chinese stormed across the Yalu River on Oct. 19, 1950, the Suh children and their father fled their village south of the Chinese border. Amid the panic of what Suh calls "a mass retreat," the family members were separated. When the armistice came three years later, Suh, now 76, and her brothers found themselves on opposite sides of the North-South divide. None of them saw their father again.

Commemorations of the conflicts that have shaped our world often involve attempts at reconciliation. They bring together former allies and former enemies to pay their joint respects. Germans travel to Normandy each June to mark the invasion that changed the course of World War II in Europe. When the doves are released each Aug. 6 in Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park, Americans are always present. The past is remembered, but such occasions also signal that the world has changed for the better.

There will be none of that on the Korean peninsula this summer. June 25 will be the 60th anniversary of the day that elite North Korean troops, fresh from fighting on the side of the communists in China's civil war, crossed the 38th parallel and began the Korean War. In Seoul, representatives of the 21 nations whose troops fought under the U.N. banner will mark the occasion somberly. But for many South Koreans, the tensions that have erupted over the North's recent torpedoing of the South Korean warship Cheonan, with the loss of 46 sailors, are a bitter reminder that the war never really ended.

In the U.S., where then President Harry Truman preposterously called the bitter three-year conflict "a police action," veterans groups are planning quiet ceremonies, but Korea has come to be regarded as a forgotten conflict — tucked in between World War II, which united a nation in a just cause, and Vietnam, which tore the same nation asunder. In China, which lost, according to some estimates, over 1 million soldiers during the war, there is barely a nod of remembrance. But right now, along the southern side of the DMZ, South Korean troops are assembling loudspeakers and large video screens, tools they again intend to use to wage psychological warfare against the soldiers on the other side. The South will remind them just how awful their government is and just how good life on the southern side is.

On June 11, in response to those plans, North Korea threatened "an all-out military strike to destroy the loudspeakers if they are used," turning Seoul into a "sea of flame." On June 15, North Korea's U.N. envoy said that Pyongyang would respond with "military forces" if the U.N. condemned his country's role in the Cheonan's destruction. In many parts of the world, such bellicosity has given North Korea an image of almost comic craziness. Even in Seoul — hip, prosperous, technologically savvy — it's easy to laugh off the North's incessant raving. But the fact is, the last time the "sea of flame" rhetoric was used the Clinton Administration was closer than most realize to launching a pre-emptive strike to take out the North's nuclear facilities.

Perhaps loudspeakers aren't really such a good idea. The DMZ is not the Berlin Wall, where, despite the shooting of East Germans trying to escape to the West, a stone-cold peace endured until the wall's demolition. In 1968, 31 North Korean special-forces troops attacked the Blue House in Seoul, trying to assassinate President Park Chung Hee. In 1983, North Korean terrorists killed 17 members of a high-ranking South Korean government delegation visiting Rangoon, Burma. And over the years the disputed maritime border in what the Koreans call the West Sea has repeatedly been the site of fighting. In fact, it's likely the Cheonan's sinking was a response to a naval firefight in 2002, when the South heavily damaged at least one North Korean vessel and killed several of its crew.

The price of such war without end is steep, and frequently borne by ordinary people. There are no good statistics on how many family members were separated from 1950 to 1953, but South Korean academics have conservatively estimated about 1 million. During the years of South Korea's conciliatory "sunshine policy," in place from 1998 to 2007, the governments permitted reunions of separated families. Even last year, the three Suh children were able to gather at a reunion center set up at North Korea's Mount Kumgang. They spoke of their father. They spoke a bit about their lives on the two sides of the DMZ. Then they parted again, after a meeting that, for Se Jun, had been more painful than joyous. "It made me miss them even more," she says quietly.

Those reunions, because of the Cheonan attack, are now over. The only way the situation can improve is with the demise of the Kim dynasty in Pyongyang. And the only conceivable way that can happen, barring a coup, uprising or cataclysmic scaling up of what the U.S. military calls "kinetic contact," is if the North's lone patron, China, decides it's had enough. (See TIME's photo-essay "The Iconography of Kim Jong Il.")

There are various explanations offered for China's unbending support for Pyongyang. Beijing fears unrest. It fears hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of refugees pouring into its northeast. It fears the U.S. and South Korea taking over the North. And perhaps, having sacrificed a million of its citizens in Pyongyang's defense, it has simply decided that it has too much history with Pyongyang to pull out now. China's leaders still treat Kim Jong Il with respect when he goes to Beijing, as he did in early May, even if those demonstrations of loyalty have become the object of derision not only abroad but also at home. (Chinese Netizens heaped particular scorn on the recent visit, coming as it did so soon after the Cheonan attack.)

Ultimately, though, the standard rationales for Beijing's backing of a deeply unpalatable regime are unsatisfactory. China was unquestionably spooked by the North Korean famine of the 1990s, and the resulting spike in refugees. But it could secure its border well enough with troops, cameras and motion sensors if it had to. Besides, a massive destabilizing influx of refugees is not the inevitable consequence of Kim's downfall. Beijing could simply use its clout to insist that the Kim dynasty or its successors make the kind of economic reforms every other country in East Asia started making decades ago, and North Koreans would have every incentive to stay put.

The geopolitical rationale for the status quo — that Beijing needs a buffer state (however decrepit) along its border — is also dubious. The end of the Kim regime would mean the end of any compelling need for a major U.S. troop presence in the South. Given that Beijing is already Seoul's largest trade partner, it would then be much easier for China to draw the whole of Korea into its orbit.

When they think of Korea, most Chinese already instinctively call to mind a go-ahead, capitalist version. My 6-year-old daughter goes to a private Chinese school in suburban Shanghai, where we live. About a year ago, it held a mini World's Fair, in which each class put together a presentation about a different country. The school gymnasium was full of papier-mâché Eiffel Towers and Sydney Opera Houses, but the display that caught my eye was the one for Korea. It showed skyscrapers in Seoul, a Samsung cell phone and photos of a K-pop band. These kids and their young teachers didn't even give the faintest nod to China's dear socialist ally.

In Beijing, however, the party conservatives and PLA hawks prefer the status quo to the uncertainty a real end to the Korean conflict would bring. Their deep-seated fear of the future could be the only conceivable explanation why, after 60 years, the likes of Suh Se Jun remain separated from their families, the war without end grinds on and support is given to a regime that even 6-year-olds know enough to shy away from.

< あれから60年が過ぎ、対立はまだ終わっていない >




米国では、ハリー・トルーマン大統領は非常識にも、3年間におよぶ悲惨な戦争を「軍事行動(Police Action)」と呼び、退役軍人会は静かな式典を計画しているとはいえ、朝鮮戦争は、大義の下に国中を団結させた第二次世界大戦と、国をバラバラに分裂させたベトナム戦争との狭間に埋もれた、忘れられた戦争として片づけられてきた。ある調査によれば、中国はこの戦争で100万人以上の兵士を失ったのだが、追悼式典を開催する気配はほとんどない。しかし現にDMZ(非武装地帯)の南側には、対峙する敵軍兵士に対して心理戦を行使するための兵器として巨大なスピーカーやビデオスクリーンが並んでいる。韓国は、北朝鮮政府がいかにひどいか、南側がいかに素晴らしい生活をしているかを、思い起こさせようとしている。










inserted by FC2 system