National Seafood Month: An Opportunity to Think About Sustainable Local Ways to Grow Fish

By Joe Hankins, director of the Freshwater Institute, The Conservation Fund

October is National Seafood Month. What better time to examine the critical role seafood plays in our global food system? Given that over 90 percent  of U.S. seafood is currently imported, and that twice the current supply will be needed by 2050, there is an urgent need for new ways to produce high-quality, local fish without putting more pressure on our oceans. At The Conservation Fund’s Freshwater Institute, we know the increasing importance of seafood in supplying protein to feed our world’s growing population. We also recognize that we need to find better, more sustainable local ways to grow fish.

We have worked for nearly 30 years to research and develop technology that makes this possible. The Freshwater Institute has pioneered technology to grow fish on land, in tanks where clean water is continuously filtered and recycled, and waste is captured to be reused as fertilizer for crops. The technology, known as recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), can be used anywhere, reducing the carbon footprint associated with seafood, to produce fish in a controlled environment without using antibiotics, pesticides or hormones. This month, we hope you’ll watch and share this video on the benefits of RAS, and join us in imagining a future where everyone has access to locally-grown seafood (no matter where you live). It’s good for people, our local economics, and our environment.

The Conservation Fund

We practice conservation to achieve environmental and economic outcomes. Every Fund program places conservation at its center, and our entrepreneurial staff create and implement innovative, practical ways to benefit the natural world and the well-being of Americans from every walk of life. 

At the Fund, we believe that conservation is an “all-hands on deck proposition,” in the words of one of our former Board Chairs. Conservation takes many forms, and our programs interpret and practice conservation in a mutually-reinforcing way – working in concert to ensure the value of natural resources in America remain essential to our prosperity.

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