Integrated fish farming praised for sustainability 'releases significant methane emissions'

Integrated fish farming praised for sustainability 'releases significant methane emissions'

A traditional method of farming often praised for being environmentally sustainable actually releases 'significant' greenhouse gas emissions, an Oxford University study has found.

Integrated fish farming is common in aquaculture and a particular system from southern China combining silk production and aquaculture has been regarded as a prime example of multi-functional agriculture with a 'closed-loop' recycling process.

Organic residues from are added to ponds to encourage the growth of phytoplankton, feeding fish. Waste accumulated in the pond sediments is removed and used to fertilise mulberry, which is in turn fed to silkworms.

A team led by Professor Fritz Vollrath of the Oxford Silk Group analysed the . Their results are to be published in the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment.

"We have found that the formation of methane in pond sediments can be a significant source of emissions blamed for global warming," said Professor Vollrath.

"Until now this method of small-scale farming has been held up as a shining example of environmentally-friendly farming. But our results suggest it may make an appreciable and previously underestimated contribution to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions."

He added: "The effect is significant because carp are the most heavily farmed fish in the world, and commonly raised in fertilised ponds."


Explore further

Learning from nature's silky skills

Provided by Oxford University
Citation: Integrated fish farming praised for sustainability 'releases significant methane emissions' (2015, September 7) retrieved 19 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-09-fish-farming-sustainability-significant-methane.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
56 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Sep 07, 2015
These methods infuse the wild waters with the defecation by the millions of fry or fish being raised in tiny pens using wild waters to flush it out.

It's a huge water treatment problem with pathogens done "free of charge" dumped into the natural system not responsible for any effects it has on wild species which are now documented with salmon virus diseases found in wild species, instead, the companies preventing recognition of this.

The other major issue is food for fish-farming, much of it comes from trawling, a practice that denudes the ocean bottom and degrades it's species diversity to almost nothing.

This process must be stopped.

There is every reason to enhance natural wild fishing and remove fish-farms from wild waters.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more