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Thread: Does fishing use more energy than farming?

  1. #1 Does fishing use more energy than farming? 
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    Does fishing use more energy than land meat farming? This question would require knowledge in agriculture, engineering and environmental science etc. Let's just compare by energy usage per protein output/production. Fishing may not require crops to sustain the fish, but fossil fuelled powered ships are required to catch the fish. One could be much more energy efficient than the other but I must say I can only guess; unless I overestimate the amount of energy it takes to power these ships I would say that fishing creates more co2 in the atmosphere. I would like to hear people's views on this or even point to some research done with this comparison.


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  3. #2  
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    My guess is fishing comes out ahead by a large margin in most cases. I worked in commercial fishing boats when I was younger and it was not uncommon for us to net 30,000-50,000 pounds of cod and pollack in three or four days of fishing off our 55 foot boat. Generally we fished 20 to 100 miles off the Maine coast, using most of the fuel getting there and back. Today due to overfishing the catch would be much less but I think still compare favorably to raising most animals for meat.

    Of course animal efficiency varies quite a bit as well...chicken being very efficient while large cows take a lot of energy.


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    It doesn't matter. Fish can't reproduce quickly enough, fishing will have to be reduced in next few years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twit of wit
    It doesn't matter. Fish can't reproduce quickly enough, fishing will have to be reduced in next few years.
    Not sure where you get your information from, but salmon can easily put out 2500 eggs from one fish on the lower end a year/lifetime while say one chicken can only output at max about 300 a year. I am not sure about the weight ratio of cows opposed to fish and I don't feel like doing the numbers right now, but I am betting 2500 salmon which is the lower number of eggs they can lay weights more than a cow which can only have approximately 28 calves in a lifetime.

    That is all based on the lowest possible number of salmon eggs. I said 2500, but from multiple sources it is recorded up to 8000.

    The life cycle of a salmon is also much shorter than say a cow, or a chicken so there breading cycles are naturally faster.

    I would be interested in seeing a number by number weight comparison, but I have gone as far as I will go with this.
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    There is an interesting phenomenon that has been measured in the North Sea fishery. Fish are becoming sexually mature at a much smaller size. Normally fish have to grow to a certain weight before they mature. This makes sense in an evolutionary way, since a big fish can pump out far more offspring than a small one, meaning a much better chance of its offspring getting to reproduce in turn. Thus, it makes evolutionary sense for a small fish to put its resources into growth rather than early reproduction. However, commercial fisheries mean the big fish are preferentially removed.
    http://www.iiasa.ac.at/Research/EEP/yssp/Marty2009.pdf

    The end result is that there is an evolutionary advantage for a fish remaining small, in spite of the much smaller amount of reproduction that occurs. Thus commercial fish are being 'bred' to become small. The new fish make fewer offspring, and the total number of commercial fish decline dramatically.

    The solutions to this problem might be :

    1. Set a maximum size limit for all fisheries, so that large fish are thrown back to become breeders.
    2. Set aside large parts of the ocean as marine sanctuaries so that fish in those areas can become large and seed the rest with their offspring.
    3. Stop the fishing.

    If neither 1 or 2 are followed, then option 3 is forced upon us - possibly too late to fix the problem.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goddard
    Quote Originally Posted by Twit of wit
    It doesn't matter. Fish can't reproduce quickly enough, fishing will have to be reduced in next few years.
    Not sure where you get your information from...
    Overfishing is a well known problem. Some fisherieas already collapsed. You can't change it by making up numbers.
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    Goddard is using high birth rate as a relevent statistic without considering death rate. The vast bulk of fish spawn, and the young fish that come from it, are eaten by predators. Survival is very low. Some fish will need to spawn literally millions in order to get one to survive till it reproduces in turn.

    For this reason, claims of salmon or other fish producing thousands of offspring are irrelevent. If a species requires a billion per year to maintain survival, then millions of spawn represent extinction.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twit of wit
    Quote Originally Posted by Goddard
    Quote Originally Posted by Twit of wit
    It doesn't matter. Fish can't reproduce quickly enough, fishing will have to be reduced in next few years.
    Not sure where you get your information from...
    Overfishing is a well known problem. Some fisherieas already collapsed. You can't change it by making up numbers.
    That isn't even what is in question.

    Fisheries you mean. Fisheries collapsed? Was there an earth quake or something? hahahah ....

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Goddard is using high birth rate as a relevent statistic without considering death rate. The vast bulk of fish spawn, and the young fish that come from it, are eaten by predators. Survival is very low. Some fish will need to spawn literally millions in order to get one to survive till it reproduces in turn.

    For this reason, claims of salmon or other fish producing thousands of offspring are irrelevent. If a species requires a billion per year to maintain survival, then millions of spawn represent extinction.
    You say survival is very low yet you offer no statistics. It really seems like your just making things up when you don't even do research or at the very least give some credible information other than your personal opinion.

    Lets not lose focus of the original question. "Does fishing use more energy than land meat farming?"
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  10. #9  
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    Not really trying to disprove anything, but the way you went about trying to disprove me wasn't informative, or helpful to the question being asked.

    The "cod collapse" isn't the fish collapse

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fish_farming / http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Livestock
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  12. #11  
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    I am puzzled, Goddard.

    What is your position? Are you a commercial fisherman, or related to one? You sound like someone with an agenda.

    Numerous fish stocks all over the world have been collapsing. Everything from bluefin tuna
    http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/22567
    to sharks
    http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/sharks...chain2009.html
    to New Zealand snapper
    http://www.niwa.co.nz/news-and-publi...3-06/diversity


    Overfishing is a global problem. A small amount of fish farming is not having any measurable impact.

    So why are you trying to deny this?
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    No one is trying to deny anything, but it just isn't relevant to the topic at hand. If you want to talk about the fish collapse in another thread then perhaps I can take a position there.

    If this conversation is opened up to any topic then we could end up talking about the environmental impact of pollution on the fish population. Or how global warming is killing off various species.

    It is not relevant to the energy comparison unless that is taken into account in some negative/positive scale, but I do believe this is biased to the methods used to perform each act.

    One could argue the mass amount of methane produced from cows is also a negative side effect. You could also say that traditional fishing is a evolving business where livestock farming isn't.

    Side Note:
    It isn't a secret the world is being destroyed by humanities actions. I believe our current methods for feeding people, handling waste, powering homes, and caring for the earth is horrible.

    If you would like to read something that might entertain a utopian thought then head over here http://www.thevenusproject.com/ I think I actually got this link from some one on this forum.

    Now back to the discussion.
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  14. #13  
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    Perhaps easier to answer the original question if the type of fishing is compared to the type of land meat use.

    Land meat farming is explicity stated, thus fish farming (not simply fishing) should be the appropriate comparison. Otherwise, hunting and fishing should be compared.
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goddard
    No one is trying to deny anything,
    lie
    Quote Originally Posted by Goddard
    but it just isn't relevant to the topic at hand. If you want to talk about the fish collapse in another thread then perhaps I can take a position there.
    It is.
    1. less fish = more energy required for fishing.
    2. If you can't fish, energy comparison is irrelevant.
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  16. #15  
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    Hahah ok dude what ever...

    What a horrible discussion this has turned out to be. :P
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    There is an interesting phenomenon that has been measured in the North Sea fishery. Fish are becoming sexually mature at a much smaller size. Normally fish have to grow to a certain weight before they mature. This makes sense in an evolutionary way, since a big fish can pump out far more offspring than a small one, meaning a much better chance of its offspring getting to reproduce in turn. Thus, it makes evolutionary sense for a small fish to put its resources into growth rather than early reproduction. However, commercial fisheries mean the big fish are preferentially removed.
    http://www.iiasa.ac.at/Research/EEP/yssp/Marty2009.pdf

    The end result is that there is an evolutionary advantage for a fish remaining small, in spite of the much smaller amount of reproduction that occurs. Thus commercial fish are being 'bred' to become small. The new fish make fewer offspring, and the total number of commercial fish decline dramatically.

    The solutions to this problem might be :

    1. Set a maximum size limit for all fisheries, so that large fish are thrown back to become breeders.
    2. Set aside large parts of the ocean as marine sanctuaries so that fish in those areas can become large and seed the rest with their offspring.
    3. Stop the fishing.

    If neither 1 or 2 are followed, then option 3 is forced upon us - possibly too late to fix the problem.
    The smaller sexual maturity is interesting.
    You're first solution is similar to what New England fishermen did for lobstering many years ago--large female "seeder" breeders were released and tagged (by removal of on a tail fin section). Of course they were alive when released. Many fishing practices kill the fish anyhow so it couldn't be done--I've done gill netting, dragging and tub trawl--the first two methods kills almost everything caught.

    --
    My prior post about energy assumed the fishing was done in some kind of sustainable fashion. There are many cases of overfishing though: The Cod industry of Eastern Canada collapsed in the 1970's; it was followed by the New England Cod industry in the mid 1980s (just about when I got out of it). Most of the boat in my Maine town stopped fishing, either being adapted to something else (e.g. whale watching, off shore lobstering) or suffering from an unprecedented number of sinking on beautiful summer days in just enough water to deter good insurance investigations (I'm not kidding).

    Blue fin tuna fishing is about to collapse as a global fishery.
    Blue crab industry along the Texas coast is straining.

    It's not hard for find examples.

    Nevertheless, if done responsibly, fishing is very efficient.
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  18. #17 does fishing use less resources than farmming? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    My guess is fishing comes out ahead by a large margin in most cases. I worked in commercial fishing boats when I was younger and it was not uncommon for us to net 30,000-50,000 pounds of cod and pollack in three or four days of fishing off our 55 foot boat. Generally we fished 20 to 100 miles off the Maine coast, using most of the fuel getting there and back. Today due to overfishing the catch would be much less but I think still compare favorably to raising most animals for meat. QUOTE ]
    I am still in awe of early fishing & shrimping vessels which were SAIL BOATS ;however, shrimp as well as catfish are raised on farms profiteably;furthermore, wend & sun power systems can benifit all farming as well as fule and ice production used by fishermen; consequentially, the question becomes property cost comparison : NEW POST ENDS ]


    Of course animal efficiency varies quite a bit as well...chicken being very efficient



    while large cows take a lot of energy.
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  19. #18  
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    According to a report conducted by the United Nation's "Food and Agriculture" organization, which was released in 2009 as a response to a study conducted by Worldwatch institute documenting the environmental efficiency of livestock as a food source, "thirty million tons or 36% - by some accounts as much as 50% - of global fisheries' catch each year are used to feed livestock. Globally, pigs and chickens alone consume six times the amount of seafood as do American consumers, and twice as much as Japanese consumers."

    http://awellfedworld.org/sites/awell...nsult12-09.pdf

    Similarly, the livestock sector consumes a vast quantity of available crop resources, and depletes a massive percentage of the world's available water supplies. On an industrial level, the fishing industry is far more efficient than the livestock industry.
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