Faced with rapidly decreasing amounts of wild fish and a growing unease with the negative long term effects of fish farming, there is a big space for innovation. According to Noviscope's July 2010 newsletter, "Demand for fish as a healthy food has increased in recent years. Globally, per capita demand for fish products for human consumption has increased from 10.5 kilograms (kg) per year to almost 16 kg over the last three decades." In the shadow of an increased demand for fish, we see a deep decline in the supply side. "Even in the Coastal waters off South-East Asia, wild fish stocks are estimated to be only at 10-15 percent of the levels that existed a decade ago."
For many developing communities however, the fish market is seen as a viable way out of extreme poverty. According to Noviscope, "the main source of fish production has shifted from developed to developing states and the share of aquaculture has increased substantially... Over 80 percent of total aquaculture production comes from developing countries."
Noviscope points to Trapia, a Talapia farming company in Malaysia, as a signal a future aquaculture methods. In partnership with Norway, Trapia's objective (as taken from their website), "is to become a world leading producer of high quality, safe, sustainable and verifiable tilapia by controlling, documenting and verifying all steps of the value chain.
"Trapia is a Traceable Tilapia, whose origin and identity can be verified by means of DNA technology. Trapia is produced using GenoMar Supreme Tilapia fingerlings to grow market size tilapia in GenoMar’s own grow-out facilities. Each fingerlings used is “pre-tagged”, traceable and verifiable throughout the value chain.
"We set a new industrial standard in food safety by being the first company in the world to implement a state-of-the art “egg to plate” tamper-proof traceability system that is DNA-verified - the GenopassTM verification system."
Implications from Institute for the Future:
As shown by Noviscope, the demand for fish is only on the rise. As countries gain purchasing power, people everywhere in the world will increase their tastes for fish. Additionally, increased need for fish food for carnivorous fish farming will continue to push up the demand for fish.
The future of our oceans' ecosystems do not lie in decreased and sustainable consumption of fish. Producers will never stop producing when there is demand. And consumers will never stop consuming without the assurance that everyone else has also stopped. The oceans have fallen prey to the tragedy of the commons.
Trapia and other such initiatives will be the future of how we get the fish we consume, and how poor fishing communities will grow.
Noviscape July 2010, pgs. 5 - 9