AQUACULTURE ISSUE:
Escapes
Keeping Wild Stocks Wild
School of southern bluefin tuna in a tuna fishery tow cage (Photo © Paul Sutherland/National Geographic Stock)

When large numbers of fish or shrimp are kept in pens or ponds, some can escape. This isn't as harmless as you might think. For instance, when Atlantic salmon escape into the waters of the Pacific, they compete with already threatened wild Pacific salmon for food and disrupt habitat in wild rivers and streams.

Unwelcome Visitors

Most farmed species are not the same as wild species in the area, and no one knows the implications of these introductions. Escapees can potentially breed with wild species, causing genetic changes and the possible extinction of certain populations. They can also establish themselves as invasive species, as is the case with tilapia raised outside Africa.

As long as salmon farmers and others continue to rely on open net pens, escapes will continue to threaten wild populations of salmon or other species, and natural habitats.
What You Can Do

Smart Seafood Choices
Use our pocket guides
Seafood Watch pocket guides help you select seafood that is caught or farmed in ways that help promote healthy oceans. Choose from the green, "Best Choice" column. Otherwise, try a yellow "Good Alternative."
Download or print a pocket guide

Learn more about Aquaculture Issues:
WILD FISH       POLLUTION & DISEASE       ESCAPES       HABITAT DAMAGE       MANAGEMENT