An early-rising sport fisherman motors over calm seas on his way to striped bass fishing grounds off the coast of Kennebunkport, Maine, Thursday, July 7, 2022. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

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The world population just hit 8 billion a few weeks ago, and with this milestone comes important questions. Can Earth sustain the increased numbers of people? How can we feed an ever-growing population? And do we have enough protein to feed the world? Many have tried to come up with answers to these questions, but concerns surrounding food take on a different meaning in Maine, one of the world’s seafood hubs.

We have the opportunity to pave the way in sustainable seafood production, even as large corporations propose otherwise. I believe Industrial-scale finfish farms pose a threat to Maine’s ecosystem and economy, but corporations want to convince the world that we need these massive facilities to solve the protein problem. In these operations, likened to factory farms, thousands upon thousands of finfish (usually salmon) are raised in cages or pens to be harvested as food. But waste can build up from antibiotics, pesticides, and excess feed in these crammed confinements, causing pollution of the ocean, which is supposed to be a shared resource for all.

Large operations are not the answer for food production. Local fishermen, lobstermen, and small-scale aquaculture farmers in Maine present much more sustainable alternatives while feeding their communities instead of corporations’ wallets. Yes, we need to explore additional food sources to feed the world. But no, we do not have to accept the first corporate “solution” that comes along, especially as we have the opportunity to boost local economies with clean and healthy seafood production right here in Maine.

Erin Bachmeier

Field organizer

Don’t Cage Our Oceans