Aquaculture is the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of fish, shellfish, algae, and other organisms in all types of water environments. It is the largest growing food group in the world, killing trillions of fish every year. Fish are often kept confined to netted pens close to the shore; feces and diseases from the farmed fish pollute the surrounding water, promote the growth of algae blooms, and destroy nearby ecosystems. Currently, no state or federal law protects fish from stress, pain, and suffering during their short life span in aquaculture.
Commercial fisheries also pose a threat to the ocean and its ecosystems. Unsustainable practices such as long-line fishing and deep-sea trawling desecrate the delicate ecosystems of the ocean and impose stressful deaths on the magnificent creatures they catch. According to National Geographic, 171 million tons of fish are currently being harvested from the ocean per year. In the next 10 years, that number is expected to rise to 201 million tons.
Bycatch is a term for non-target species, including sharks, dolphins, turtles, and sea birds, accidentally captured through different fishing methods such as long-line fishing and deep-sea trawling and discarded in the water dead or dying. It is estimated that between 17.9 and 39.5 million tons of bycatch are discarded by fisheries yearly.
The fishing industry also threatens human rights. Time magazine reported that fishing is the second most dangerous job in the United States. Fisheries expose workers to harsh weather conditions, slippery surfaces, and dangerous physical tasks. About 86 fatal injuries were reported for every 100,000 workers–one of the highest rates in 2017 after logging.