Freshwater Fishing photo

Aquaculture, the process of farming fish for human consumption, continues to be a hot topic, especially when it comes to salmon. Opponents of the salmon farms point to genetic modification and increased competition when farmed salmon escape and interact with wild salmon.

Proponents say salmon farming takes pressure off threatened stocks of wild salmon and helps make the healthy and delicious fish affordable. My take is: If you have to feed farmed salmon a supplement just to make their flesh pink, there’s something wrong with the whole process. (You can find out more about why you should eat wild salmon at Trout Unlimited’s Why Wild Website.)

In South America, there’s an effort underway to save threatened populations of Paiche, a large freshwater fish native to the Amazon, by reintroducing farmed fish to the river.

Of course, this isn’t just a feel-good story. The company behind the efforts is also hoping to make money selling farm-raised Paiche to American markets looking for an alternative to Chilean sea bass. As reported in Reuters:

_Move over Chilean sea bass, Peruvians are raising a giant Amazon fish and sending it abroad to answer growing cries for sustainable seafood in haute cuisine.

Farm-raised, fresh-water Paiche have journeyed from the murky Amazon to restaurants in cities from Houston to Paris. The low-fat, mercury-free white fish may soon be available at select U.S. grocery stores.

Paiche, which at up to 220 pounds is one of the world’s largest fish, fed spear-fishing indigenous peoples for centuries. But their numbers dwindled when nets were introduced in the Amazon and the region’s cities grew and developed.

Amazone, a company backed by Peruvian mining and cement conglomerate the Hochschild Group, hopes to save the species from extinction by breeding organic, farm-raised fish for export and releasing some back into the wild._

So what’s your take on aquaculture? Good move or bad idea? Or does even it matter as long as it tastes good?