5 Reasons Wild-Caught Fish Isn’t Always the Best Choice (But Sustainable Aquaculture Might Be)


  • Emily Monaco
  • June 29, 2017

We’ve been told time and time again that the most sustainable, healthiest seafood choice is wild-caught fish, but times are changing: as the world’s wild fish populations deplete at an ever-growing pace, strides are being made in the world of fish farming, and today, sustainable aquaculture is the way to go.

Don’t believe us? Here are five great reasons to choose (sustainable!) farmed fish instead of wild.

1. We’ve learned from our mistakes.

Our preconceived notions about farmed fish being a less sustainable, less healthy alternative didn’t come from nowhere. Jacqueline Claudia, LoveTheWild’s co-founder and CEO, notes that while aquaculture has been around since ancient China, the first commercial scale aquaculture in the U.S., which was developed in the 1970s, “was pretty ugly by many accounts.”

“It spawned the enduring negative perceptions of aquaculture: overcrowding, reliance on wild fish for feed, disease and antibiotic use, poor quality fish, and environmental devastation,” she says.

Doesn’t sound like a pretty picture, does it? Luckily, sustainable aquaculture today has progressed leaps and bounds.

Overcrowding is one great example: while fish naturally crowd and school together in the great wide ocean – and can even get ill when they are not able to exhibit this natural behavior – early fish farms nonetheless had problems linked to overcrowding, such as low oxygen and excessive waste.

“Today, science has led to deeper understanding of optimal stocking densities of a given system, and most salmon farms operate around a maximum of 15kg/square meter (about a third of historical levels),” explains Claudia. “To put this in perspective, some modern aquaculture like that at Pacifico Striped Bass operates pens that are 98% water and 2% fish.”

Another major change in the aquaculture industry is the way in which farmers approach and treat disease.

“The one thing that a lot of people are working on are new diagnostics that will help to both identify diseases early on as well as to prevent diseases,” says Monica Jain, Founder and Executive Director of Fish 2.0, who notes the presence of a new trend in sustainable aquaculture. “People are creating products that make the fish stock, the farmed fish healthier rather than trying to treat diseases after they start.”

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What people are saying about Fish 2.0

  • Mitchell Presser - Freshfields US and Investor in Ag Tech
    Fish 2.0 is a fantastic forum, bringing together innovative and cutting edge ideas for the future of our most efficient source of animal protein
    - Mitchell Presser, Freshfields US and Investor in Ag Tech
  • Amy Novogratz - Aqua-Spark
    We really value participating in Fish 2.0 as both sponsors and judges — it has expanded and strengthened our network.
    - Amy Novogratz, Aqua-Spark
  • Brock Mansfield - Salmon Innovation Fund
    Participating in Fish 2.0 as a judge, mentor and investor has made connecting easy, at both the local and global level.
    - Brock Mansfield, Salmon Innovation Fund
  • Andrew Beebe - Obvious Ventures
    Fish 2.0 is a homerun event. The quality of entrepreneurs, co-investors and corporate players in attendance is off the charts. I can’t recommend it more highly.
    - Andrew Beebe, Obvious Ventures
  • Mike Velings - Aqua-Spark
    Fish 2.0 has brought us really interesting deals to look at, gives a good sense of challenges and opportunities in the global seafood sector, and is always a great time.
    - Mike Velings, Aqua-Spark
  • Frank McGrath - Oberon Securities
    Fish 2.0 shows my investor base vetted, prepped organizations at sane expectations and valuations.
    - Frank McGrath, Oberon Securities
  • Leigh Moran - Calvert Foundation
    Fish 2.0 is unique amongst business competitions in that investors are ready to invest and competitors actually get investment! That is all too rare in many business competitions
    - Leigh Moran, Calvert Foundation
  • Kate Danaher - RSF Social Finance
    Working with Fish 2.0 as an online judge and advisor has given us amazing exposure to great companies/pipeline but more importantly it has given us the opportunity to educate ourselves on the sector.
    - Kate Danaher, RSF Social Finance
  • Dane Chauvel - Organic Ocean Seafood
    Fish 2.0 helped us grow our business, but more importantly, it helped us optimize our business. We are doing more, and doing it better. I don’t believe we would have gotten here as quickly if we had not gone through the Fish 2.0 planning exercise.
    - Dane Chauvel, Fish 2.0 2013 Finalist (Canada)
  • Roxanne Nanninga - Tru Fish
    This was a great opportunity to pitch to a very relevant group of people. I made some very valuable connections.
    - Roxanne Nanninga, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (USA)
  • Sherry Flummerfelt - Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust
    I made some excellent connections, learned so much, and feel like our organization has grown considerably as a result of participating in Fish 2.0.
    - Sherry Flummerfelt, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (USA)
  • Mitchell Lench - Treetops Capital
    Awareness about sustainable seafood continues to rise, and impact investors want to support new initiatives in this arena, but it’s hard to find them. It was useful to see so many different types of sustainable seafood companies all in one place.
    - Mitchell Lench, Treetops Capital
  • Emmanuelle Bourgois - FairAgora
    Fish 2.0 competition has been a unique learning experience. It shaped the idea from a concept to a robust business model, boosted confidence in my entrepreneurship skills and is the real starting point of this amazing and innovative adventure.
    - Emmanuelle Bourgois, Fish 2.0 2015 Competitor (Thailand)
  • Alfred Kalontas - Alfa Fishing
    Fish 2.0 helped me understand my brand better. It helped me refine my business structure to represent my business brand.
    - Alfred Kalontas, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (Vanuatu)
  • Diane Durance - Harvest Food & Fisheries
    As a semi-finalist in 2013, I experienced first-hand how important it is to get your venture in front of investors who are knowledgeable and interested in your field. Fish 2.0 is the organization making that possible for entrepreneurs in aquaculture and sustainable fisheries.
    - Diane Durance, Fish 2.0 2013 Semi-finalist (USA)
  • Mike Betts - AgFunder
    Fish 2.0 provided a huge amount of value to the investor community in really getting exposure for and curating companies, that is super valuable. It's one of the best I have been to in the food and ag sector. Everything from the quality of the attendees and companies, the content, the engagement.
    - Mike Betts, AgFunder (USA)
  • What I liked about Fish 2.0 was
    the high-quality content and very well curated line-up of companies.
    - Investor, Fish 2.0 2015
  • Kelly Harrell - Alaska Marine Conservation Council
    For those in the fisheries world, Fish 2.0 has quickly become the go-to place for those interested in advancing cutting-edge business models focused on the triple-bottom line of social, environmental, and economic impact.
    - Kelly Harrell, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (USA)
  • Dr. Karsidete Teeranitayatarn - Green Innovative Biotech
    This made my company grow up and served as a springboard. We received interest and collaboration from around the world, including Fiji, Northern Canada, Alaska, Marshall Island, and venture capitalists from Silicon Valley.
    -Dr. Karsidete Teeranitayatarn, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (Thailand)
  • David Stover - Bureo
    It makes you kind of step back and look at what's actually going on, ... question what path are you on, where are we going ... in that sense, it's an extremely valuable process to kind of put things on paper and take a look at it.
    - David Stover, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (Chile)
  • Brett Haywood - Sea Quest Group
    Helped us look within and be able to convey our positive impacts, whether its socially, environmentally or resource based, and convey this to our markets and partners.
    - Brett Haywood, Fish 2.0 2015 Finalist (Fiji)
  • Andriet Tilfas - Hapmak Market
    It helped me connect with a lot of new business people around the world. Not only to help with our small scale in a remote island but to expand services because there are a lot of opportunities out there.
    - Andriet Tilfas, Fish 2.0 2015 Competitor (Micronesia)
  • This is the most professional event I’ve attended in this sector.
    - Investor, Fish 2.0 2015
  • Alan Lovewell - Local Catch Monterey Bay
    Fish 2.0 is a great way to expand your network. We learned about other fish businesses and opportunities for collaboration--that exposure is very hard to do on your own.
    - Alan Lovewell, Fish 2.0 2013 Finalist (USA)
  • Gary Ullstrom - Kuterra
    It’s not just a seminar, it’s the real thing – you’re pitching to real people with real money.
    - Gary Ullstrom, Fish 2.0 2013 Finalist (Canada)
  • Kit Barron - CapLog Group
    Fish 2.0 takes the fish by the fins and creates a much needed mechanism through which the right industry experience, innovative thinkers and financial backing can come together to move new ideas in seafood to market.
    - Kit Barron, CapLog Group, LLC and Fish 2.0 2013 Advisor
  • Ed Robinson - Acadia Harvest
    All the people we dealt with on the Fish 2.0 team were great to work with. We’d have no hesitation to do it again.
    - Ed Robinson, Fish 2.0 2013 Semi finalist and 2015 Finalist (USA)
  • Hoyt Peckham - SmartFish
    It changed the way I prepare for all sorts of investor interactions, and it greatly improved our success.
    - Hoyt Peckham, Fish 2.0 2013 Semi-finalist (Mexico)
  • Gary Beatty - Inland Shrimp Company
    People found us through the media around Fish 2.0 – people who want to have shrimp locally have gone out of their way to contact us.
    - Gary Beatty, Fish 2.0 2013 Semi-finalist (USA)