Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
In response to Mr. Dumas’ letter regarding parrot fish farming, and fish farming in general, please allow me to respond:
Open ocean fish farming is, and has been proven beyond doubt to be an environmentally and biologically dangerous and detrimental practice. As a fishing guide, yacht captain, and naturalist of over 55 years experience, and having observed net-restrained fisheries in Norwegian and other Atlantic as well as Pacific waters, I have seen the adverse environmental and species specific effects of restraining and concentrating populations of anadromous species such as the Atlantic and Pacific salmon and rainbow trout (steelhead) as well as pelagic species such as various jacks and tunas.
Demersal, or bottom-dwelling species such as the various parrot fish, are particularly vulnerable to extinction through fish farming for the following, as well as other reasons this format disallows for reasons of space:
Crowding allows sickness to be passed on to all members of the group. In a state of nature, weak members fall behind and are less likely to infect others. In addition, crowding fosters heightened aggressive behavior, especially in fish such as the parrot fish, which do not generally live in a school. Fish raised in a caged environment are usually sterile, highly aggressive, and prone to hosting disease bearing organisms. When these fish escape restraint and enter the wild population, they almost invariably seize food and habitat resources (in the case of the parrot fish, coral and spawning redds), displacing the native population and within the space of one generation, extinguishing native fish populations.
Habitat conservation and preservation, fishing regulations such as slot limits and possession limits and seasons are far better choices than fish farming, especially in a notoriously ineptocratic country like Costa Rica. Let’s keep the wild in wildlife.