The Year of Aquaculture
San Francisco is known for its fresh seafood like Dungeness crab, oysters, and other local fish. We’re featuring small fisheries and farmers at your local farmers’ markets this month because the United Nations General Assembly has declared 2022 the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA 2022). The year will “focus attention on the role that small fisheries and aqua-farmers have in minimizing food insecurity and poverty and promoting sustainable fishing on a small scale.”*
So what exactly is aquaculture? Without getting too complicated, aquaculture is the raising of plants or animals in water. Most production is for human consumption, while some aquaculture products are used for livestock feed, for enhancing wild fish stock, and for creating biofuels.
Many ongoing projects in California aim to restore and protect endangered fish species like abalone and native Olympia oysters. Bodega Bay Oyster Company, a participant in local farmers’ markets, is one of several fisheries that boasts sustainable fishing practices. Raising oysters is healthy for the environment because the shellfish are adept at filtering the surrounding water, removing nitrogen, recycling carbon, and building natural habitats in the area’s waters.
Over-fishing is a major global problem when commercial trawlers are used as they collect every living thing in their wake. Gillnets used by smaller fisheries do not over-fish the local waters which help the environment replenish and sustain itself. Farmers’ market participating fisheries take pride in their conservation of the waters they fish. These small-scale fisheries like Pham’s Fish and North Bay Seafood go out each day and only fish for what they can sell at the market, without over-fishing.
Please support your local farmers’ market and our participating California small fisheries as we celebrate this Year of Aquaculture.