GOOD

Pop-Up Cafe Aims to Redeem Misunderstood "World's Ugliest Fish"

Life’s not easy for the gelatinous Blobfish. A new educational restaurant wants to change that.

image via (cc) flickr user james joel

Let’s not kid ourselves here: The blobfish is ugly. Very ugly. Comically ugly.

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Making Fish Farming Appetizing

Aqua-Spark wants to change an industry known for unclean practices

There’s a certain appeal to fish farming, also known as aquaculture. Growing aquatic life in offshore pens, rivers, or big, terrestrial tanks seems not only audacious, but as convenient as, well, shooting fish in a barrel. Already, aquaculture accounts for nearly 50 percent of the worldwide fish supply, and it’s growing faster than any other type of food production. Farm-raised seafood will soon jump to 62 percent of global fish served on a plate or bought in a supermarket by 2030, a 500 percent growth rate over 20 years, according to the USDA. At a time when 85 percent of marine life is overexploited and overfished, aquaculture seems like a viable alternative.

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Learning to Farm Fish Responsibly

Breakthroughs in aquaculture are winning over longtime skeptics.

Illustration by Tyler Hoehne

For years, wildlife organizations and international agencies have been warning that overfishing is rapidly depleting ocean fish stocks. Because the global fishing fleet is estimated to be three times larger than our oceans can sustain, the populations of big fish—tuna, swordfish, cod, marlin, and others—have declined by 90 percent since 1950. If this trend continues, populations of all food-specific species could theoretically collapse by 2048. And that’s where fish farming comes in. Though the downsides of traditionally farmed fish are numerous and well-documented—disease, environmental damage, nutritional degradation, habitat destruction, antibiotic use, and forage fish depletion among them—some innovative aquaculture models are now carving out new, non-destructive means of farming fish, and winning over longtime skeptics.

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Watch Your Mouth: Sea Bass, My Ass

How consumers fell for the dubious origins of the "certified-sustainable Chilean sea bass" hook, line, and sinker.



Attention shoppers: The fresh Chilean sea bass in the seafood case—that filet of Marine Stewardship Council-certified “best choice” fish—might not be Chilean. In fact, it may not even be sea bass.

Earlier this year, biologist Peter Marko visited ten different supermarkets and bought 36 filets of certified sustainable Chilean sea bass. In a letter published last week in Current Biology, Marko explains how he extracted mitochondrial DNA samples from the fish and matched them against the distinct genetic fingerprints of the certified population. How did the genes in the retail samples stack up against the genetic material collected from a certified batch of fish in the sea? Thirteen percent of the sea bass appeared to be from another, uncertified stock, and another 8 percent were an entirely different species of fish altogether. If these eco-certified fish were Dior handbags, one in every 12 would probably be a knockoff.

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