Aquaculture in Cornwall
With a growing global human population and with fisheries production plateauing at best, aquaculture (or fish farming) is one of the few options mankind has for meeting global seafood demand. Approximately 50% of the world’s seafood supply currently comes from aquaculture, which is the fastest growing sector of food production on the planet. Aquaculture in the UK has suffered from bad press, much of this originating from the farming of pisciverous finfish utilising practices that are now either obsolete or which have been considerably improved. Aquaculture is a very diverse activity and includes many forms of production, some of which (e.g. rope grown mussels) which have some of the best environmental credentials of any type of seafood. Much of the controversy relating to farmed fish originates from the use of proteins of marine origin (feeding farmed fish with wild fish). Much of this however does not take into account the use of other forms of protein within diets and the excellent Feed Conversion Ratios of farmed fish (when compared to other farmed animals). For herbivorous fish (such as tilapia or carp) the question of protein sources is irrelevant and fish grow in recirculation systems in the UK have some of the best sustainability credentials of any farmed fish. The question of Farmed fish Vs wild fish is a complex one that must be taken on a case by case basis.
Cornish aquaculture is still relatively undeveloped and the main sector is bivalve farming (Mussels or oysters), either within its estuaries or nearshore coastal waters, with very low environmental impact. There is also a very small amount of finfish farming and Lobster stocks in Cornwall are being enhanced utilising aquaculture technology within the county - National Lobster Hatchery. Cornish mussels and native oysters are amongst the best quality and most sustainable products available, with almost zero food miles.
Imported farmed fish from other countries can also be sourced, some of which have very good sustainability credentials. However they are not from Cornwall so are not listed on this website. You may find them on the MCS fishonline website www.fishonline.org
If, like us you think it is important to support Cornish fishermen and fish farmers please avoid species which are most likely to be farmed overseas and imported. They sometimes end up on menus in Cornwall. If you want to support local fishermen and fish farmers it’s best to avoid these and go for something local from our Recommended list!
Seafood which when it features on Cornish menus is most likely to be aquacultured outside Cornwall or imported from overseas:
- King Prawns
- Farmed Sea Bass (when plate sized)
- Farmed Gilthead Bream (plate sized)
- Farmed Halibut
- Freshwater Crayfish