Knowing whether aquaculture in developing countries helps the poorest in communities is an important question for development agencies who want to make pro-poor investments. Historically, there have been two arguments that it does not. First, to be a fish farmer you need to have a certain amount of wealth, so the poorest are unable to become producers. Second, aquaculture tends to produce larger, high-value fish that are too expensive for the poorest consumers.
Mike Velings, founder and managing partner of Aquaspark, guest blogs about social-impact investing in small-scale aquaculture. In August 2010, I attended a lecture by Stephen Hall on aquaculture in Chicago. To say the least, I expected the room of environmentalists to be uninspired given aquaculture’s subpar reputation.