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Rainbow trout. (Photo Credit: Mike Anderson/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Cornish trout to be farmed in offshore tanks

  (UNITED KINGDOM, 5/27/2014)

There are plans to build offshore fish farms for the first time off Cornwall, in a potentially controversial attempt to imitate the success of Scotland's salmon industry.

This pilot farm for rainbow trout has been planned by the Crown Estate, which owns most of the UK's foreshore, is a joint initiative led by the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), with the British Trout Association (BTA) intended to be finished by 2018, The Independent reported.

At present, the only Cornish fish farms are installed onshore.

Dr Neil Auchterlonie, of CEFAS, explained that there was a "large market for marine-reared trout" that freshwater farms, already "under pressure", are unlikely to be able to satisfy.

"We are interested in the sustainability of the operation. We are looking at a long-term collaborative agreement with an operator so we can look at environmental impact and fish health, “ Dr Auchterlonie added.

Meanwhile, opponents of aquaculture criticise the use of antibiotics to keep fish stock healthy, and point to problems with lice and to seabed pollution. Besides, those people who have purchased houses overlooking the see might express objections.

On the other hand, Aquaculture operations manager Alex Adrian at the Crown Estate, commented that it planned to demonstrate that the concept works, then expand the business around the Cornish coast.

"We are hoping an operator will look to develop other farms in the area. We would hope that ultimately we would see fish farms as routinely as you would see boats or other marine activities," Adrian pointed out.

Rainbow trout is seen as a low risk species because it can be routinely sterilised to prevent any interbreeding with native trout.

Furthermore, aquaculture development has the support of the European Union, since it is seen as a means to take the pressure off wild fish and meet the fish growing demand.

"The growing demand, especially for omega-3-rich fish, cannot be met by simply fishing more out of the sea. Our fish stocks are still reeling from years of over-fishing. Sustainable farming means producing while ensuring that our waters stay clean, our ecosystems rich and healthy, and that consumer protection and social rules are respected," expressed European Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki at the Seafood Expo held in Brussels. 


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