Seafood is one of our last wild food sources. Thanks to population growth and overfishing, however, there aren’t as many fish in the sea as there used to be. So, to keep up with global demand for fish and other types of seafood, we raise fish in massive underwater farms, just like we do with cattle on land. Now, around half of the world’s seafood comes from farms rather than from the wild.

The problem is, just like factory-sized operations that raise meat and poultry, these fish farms are crowded, dirty and create unique challenges — like finding something to feed fish that usually spend their lives foraging in the open ocean. These fish have typically been fattened on a diet consisting of fishmeal and oil made from smaller, wild fish, but now the soy industry has found a way to get it’s genetically modified fingers into our seafood as well.

In September 2011, a press release was issued announcing a new marine fish farm project that would “revolutionize sustainable agriculture.” The source of the release? The Illinois Soybean Association. In new report published by Food & Water Watch, the quiet relationship that Big Soy has been developing with the seafood industry is exposed.

The report, called “Factory-Fed Fish” [PDF], reveals that, while the soy industry stands to make large profits from the expan­sion of factory fish farming, there is no guarantee that soy-based aquaculture feed can consistently produce healthy fish or promote ecological respon­sibility. In fact, by causing fish to produce excess waste, soy could lead to an even more polluting fish farming industry.

The report claims that by supporting factory fish farming, the soy industry could not only help to expand an industry that degrades marine environments, threatens wild fish populations and damages coastal communities, it could also extend its own negative impacts.

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