Research published by SALTT lab member Tormey Reimer has been picked up by the global press, including this great story in Newsweek.
In short, Tormey and colleauges found that half of the world’s farmed fish have substantial hearing loss due to conditions in their production environments.
The results have implications for how billions of fish are farmed and how fish are produced to re-stock declining populations of wild fish.
When farmed fish escape into the wild, they do all sorts of damage to native populations, such as narrowing the gene pool through inter-breeding and spreading diseases. A new study led by Melbourne Uni marine biologist Tim Dempster shows that trying to recapture escapees around marine fish farms is a bad solution that can do much damage with little good. Instead, the study suggests a radical change in focus to reduce the impacts of escapees in the wild.
There are lots of places in the world where humans put food into the ocean, either accidently or on purpose. It ends up in the mouths of animals, and can have unintended consequences. Aquaculture is a major source of this food, and feeds from aquaculture are a lot different to a natural diet.
Camille White, a UniMelb PhD student has been looking into this issue. In a paper published today, she shows how you can supersize urchins by feeding them the ‘junk food’ that spills into the environment from aquaculture, but if they get too much of a good thing, they can’t reproduce!
Big Fish by the ABC’s Four Corners program took a deep dive into the practices and sustainability of the Tasmanian salmon industry. Tim Dempster was interviewed on the conditions in 2016, the hottest summer on record in Australia for over 100 years and a challenging time for growing salmon.
Our work has recently featured in the September issue of Science News in an article on the problem of escaped fish entering the wild and what to do about them.
SMOOTH CRIMINAL Farmed sea bass and other fish frequently escape from sea cages out into the ocean. Researchers worry that escapees, like this sea bass found off the coast of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, could threaten wild ecosystems.