Much has been written concerning the reduction of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping emissions and the anticipated devastation brought on by frequent and increased drastic weather conditions — rising oceans, increasing ocean acidification and the melting of mountain glaciers, among other nasty things.
But where are the plans to to mitigate negative impacts on food production, especially seafood? Science tells us that there is no way world leaders will be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a level low enough to immediately stop the global warming already in progress.
And we must eat while the powers that be figure out a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
One word we hear a lot in conversations about climate change is resilience — which indicates that something bad is going to happen and we must be prepared for recovery. We must prepare for the basics: food, clothing, shelter and a source of water that can be made potable.
The S.C. Seafood Alliance is outlining a fix for one of a myriad of tasks needed to get us through the period of resilience.
Wild-caught seafood, saltwater aquaculture and imports will decrease as ocean and weather patterns change. Inland aquaculture on private lands is an answer, because we are able to control the environment if necessary by enclosing the growing ponds and tanks. Developing and implementing an aquaculture plan for the state even without climate change is important for food safety and nutrition. Anticipating the worst and hoping for the best, aquaculture is a win-win either way.
Greenhouses, solar power and windmills can augment current power sources in aquaculture production, leading to faster development of clean energy.
Vertical integration is the answer, where the producers form a co-op and own the processing and wholesale facilities. Each producer would grow and harvest on a schedule designed to ensure a steady supply to processing.
Aquaculture provides the fastest-growing source of animal protein in the world. Local production and consumption can provide South Carolinians with a steady, safe and nutritious supply of seafood — independent of imports. It is one of the many proactive solutions needed to prepare us for climate change.
Executive Director, S.C. Seafood Alliance