FTT Prompt September 28 by 11:59pm

The choice of which fish to cultivate is far from simple, and clear some are more suitable than others. Using the criteria describe by Sir Francis Galton, discuss why or why not Seabass are a good candidate for aquaculture. If think Seabass are not a good candidate, discuss why you think so much effort has gone into their production.

Share your thoughts in at least 250 words by the 28th of September, and by the next day weigh in on at least two posts by your peers.

45 thoughts on “FTT Prompt September 28 by 11:59pm”

  1. Seabass were not initially a good candidate for aquaculture, as the larval forms were not hardy and they had no affinity for being in captivity. However, modern scientific advancements are very good at either mimicking what wild stocks like or modifying their basic senses to make them forget. with early domesticated animals, the pens they were in captivity in were large, open grazing fields. Not that much different than their wild areas and with more plentiful food and care. It’s much easier for terrestrial humans to care for terrestrial animals, however. We can’t just plop into the sea whenever we want and spend hours with fish. That’s where science helped.
    Seabass is now a good candidate due to the sheer demand for the basslike white flesh and the improved ability to domesticate and farm almost anything, as long as you have the time and money and resources to pump into it. Doesn’t spawn all at once? Doesn’t like to spawn in tanks? Doesn’t like being handled? There’s a manufacturable hormone for that. We’ve cracked so many codes in science, it’s almost become just a matter of money. Now the only thing that seems ot determine if a fish is viable for domesticaiton is how much people want to eat it and how much money an investor wants to put into it.

    1. It is crazy what we can learn using modern technology. I think it is insane how they created a hormone to make the fish reproduce in captivity. It is insane what unnatural things humans can create.

    2. Hello Kathryn, I do agree that with modern science that sea bass meat could potentially become a good candidate for cultivation. However much more research will need to be done in order to find good success rates in this. The demand for these fish is still relatively high so although the research will end up costing lots of money and potentially take years, it may end up being worth it in the long run if the market still demands it.

    3. It is true that we could still manage to make it work with all these scientific findings. I do find it funny, however, how we spend all this time, effort and resources into making what seems like the worst option actually viable just because people specifically wanted sea bass due to some made up social value. Although the findings are indeed incredible and useful, and it’s not like other species wouldn’t have needed similar research, I believe it speaks a bit about our priorities.

    4. its crazy how much science and technology can do; the hormone that was discussed in the book practically turn a far from ideal candidate fish to one that is now valuable to market.

    5. I find that animals that are farmed don’t get seen as animals but as a product, like you stated do they like what’s going on to them with all the differences farmed and natural fish are, the farmed fish are stressed and forced to reproduce and growth a population that is needed for consumption.I believe with more money into making it more of a outgoing product gave it to be for agriculture purposes.

  2. According to Sir Francis Galton’s criteria, sea bass are significantly less than ideal for aquaculture. They are extremely fragile in their earliest stages, being extremely susceptible to disease and the difficulty of finding food so young, only a few of millions of sea bass eggs will survive to be functional adults. They struggle violently when being handled by humans and have an extreme distaste for captivity, making them difficult to raise in an aquaculture environment. Not only do sea bass reproduce rarely – millions of eggs producing just a few offspring, once a year – but in a captive setting sea bass like some other fish can shut down their reproduction all together. If this hurdle is overcome and sea bass do reproduce in a captive setting, the resulting spawn are extremely difficult to keep alive outside of their natural habitat.
    When analyzed against Sir Galton’s criteria, sea bass seem like one of the worst choices to be domesticated. So, if sea bass were not chosen for biological or practical reasons, why has so much money, research, and effort gone into making sea bass succeed? The answer is social and economic reasons. The sea bass were the ideal candidate for success not in aquaculture, but in the European seafood market, and eventually everywhere. Sea bass were already familiar and favored by the European mainstream, so the early investors in this field knew for certain that should they succeed with their endeavor, they would profit substantially. Some enter the quest to tame sea bass for individual profit, some to resolve food-scarcity, some to boost the economy of their home country, and some for all of the above. The reason the sea bass was chosen above another more practical fish is for the same reason that the south Asian barramundi is not flying off the shelves in Massachusetts. For the simple reason that no one knows what it is, and the mainstream will always prefer the familiar when it comes to fish.

    1. Exactly! The sea bass was not perfect for domestication, but it was perfect for the market. So why not use science to make it able to be domesticated? So that’s what they did. Though not on purpose, Thanasis also used some artificial selection for his sea bass as well. He was only able to use the ones that survived deoxygenation, but the fish that could survive it was ultimately in possession of a hardier set of genes that would make them more useful for aquaculture as well.

    2. I appreciate how you used the fact that the sea bass doesn’t meet Galton’s criteria to lead us into seeing why, logically, it must be farmed for another reason. It seems like we are all seeing it the same way. The reason it was chosen must be for economic reasons.

    3. Yes, exactly. Sea bass simply are not meant for human captivity but humans love to consume them so they were the perfect candidate to actually learn from. Sea bass were in huge demand & learning from them would be beneficial for the economy & profit.

  3. That’s a very good point that you brought up Felicia, there are usually some fish that rarely reproduce eggs, I do sometimes forget some examples of fish that rarely reproduce, what other fish do you think rarely reproduce?

  4. As sea bass is not a good candidate for aquaculture, sea bass were not able to reproduce very often, and could not be in captivity for long as they are not suited for it. But there were people who wanted to have them being reproduce often for eating because they liked the taste so much for the white flesh. So with todays advancements in science people are trying to modify their genes and habitats for this fish to be farmed, as long as someone with money and time can put forth an effort to actually make this fish constantly obtainable for supply and demand, they will have the need to keep this fish farmed for awhile.
    The only things the producers will have to consider is keeping this fish in the larval stage away from any harmful diseases and make them adapt to environments, they can pertain to making this a constant farming method for them to constantly have a source of income and food .

  5. Sir Francis Galton, in summary, describes that for an animal to be suitable for aquaculture, they should be easy to raise and reproduce, and that they should not give much trouble in enclosed spaces, amongst other similar details. However, sea bass are not a single one of his criteria, and have proven to be actually quite the opposite; they’re extremely fragile in their early stages of life, they’re susceptible to disease, their eggs are microscopic, and just getting them to reproduce has proven to be extremely complicated. I believe that there has been so much effort going into their production mainly due to two factors: popularity and profit, which you could actually lump together into one. Greenberg mentions how most people don’t really know their fish, and I believe that is completely on point and it’s an important reason they choose something familiar over another “foreign” thing. Even though, ironically, these “mystery” fish might be the actual local fish.
    People are used to sea bass. It has been seen as this marvelous, fancy plate since ancient Roman times, and the fact that it has “European” in its name just makes it all the more appealing in America. People knew that raising sea bass had, if successful, a guaranteed market ready to make profit off. So they chose this specific fish not based on how biologically convenient or ecologically viable it might be, but based on the question “How can I make the biggest profit?”. Interestingly enough, it might have been more economically viable to choose a different fish, seeing how many years and resources have been spent on European Sea Bass.

    1. I do believe that maybe less money and time could have been spent on domesticating another fish. A lot of fish is unknown unless marketed, and it’s possible that the marketing campaign might have been cheaper than tens of years of scientific research! Fish is all about marketing, Examples include “Chilean sea bass” (patagonian toothfish), “white tuna” (escarole), and ” Maine Sea Urchin” (uh…Whore’s Eggs). Maybe we would be seeing something else in the market today if European sea bass hadn’t been attempted!

    2. Hey Cesar, I agree that the decision to raise sea bass was completely based on the market value and demand of the fish and not based on the convenience or success of raising them in captivity. You definitely have a point that it could be more economically viable to have chosen a different species of fish despite the demand for sea bass. However with science, it may be possible to make it happen in the near future.

  6. According to the five basic principles laid out by Sir Francis Galton, sea bass are a terrible choice for domestication. Hardy? almost every single sea bass dies long before it can become a functioning adult. Innate liking of humans? They are apathetic at best towards us. Comfort-loving? Most suffer greatly in containment, with some going as far as to intentionally harm themselves in captivity. Free reproduction? We have no real method of guaranteeing that captive sea bass actually reproduce. Easy to tend? We need to set up whole microscopic ecosystems for freshly hatched sea bass to ensure that they grow up properly. They are, at least in a purely natural state, objectively terrible candidates for domestication. This begs the question of why we have put so much effort into domesticating them. The answer, put simply, is that they were already fairly well known by the general public, they make good meals, and they weren’t exactly hard to find. Combining these factors makes for good profit. Now that sea bass have become more scarce in the wild, domestication of this fish seems like a reasonable step for those only interested in profit. Demand is up, so why shouldn’t they deliver? A purely natural sea bass in aquaculture seems untenable. However, as Kathryn mentioned in her post, they don’t have to be entirely natural. We are capable of modifying these fish as we please, and so long as it’s profitable, it’s pretty much guaranteed that it will happen. Whether or not it should happen is another question entirely, and I’m sure there are plenty of different opinions just in this class. I look forward to seeing all of them.

  7. Of the five main rules Sir Francis Galton came up with for a species to be domesticated. The Seabass is covered by none. One: the species must be hardy, Seabass are not hardy creatures. There are millions of eggs laid with only a few individuals surviving till adulthood. Two: should have a liking for man. Most fish if not all including Seabass do not care for man: only when we feed them or when we pull them out of the water, do they care. Three: They should be comfort loving. Seabass are pelagic fish with an inborn sense of freedom, they do not like being contained. Four: They should breed freely. Seabass do not breed freely, they have a set time for breeding. Five: they should be easily tenable. Seabass are not easy to tame or tend to. The fish farms go through a lot of effort keeping them alive.
    The reason so much effort that has been put into the taming and farming of Seabass is their market value and marketability to Europe. Seabass are widely known in those markets for a long time and are probably the most sought after, the reward for producing them out weighed the cost.

    1. Exactly, I could not agree with you more. It seems to me the fish being chosen are all about marketability and turning a profit. It was really interesting reading about the fish in Australia with almost a 1:1 feed to flesh ratio. It left me wondering why I am just now hearing about it. I believe it’s because they have yet to figure out how to brand it as a luxury fish.

    2. Agreed. It wasn’t chosen for sustainability, it was chosen because of demand and profit. For the shareholders, this seems to be a great investment. In terms of sustainability and ease of domestication, it appears much less useful.

  8. Greenberg explains in his book Four Fish, that Sir Francis Galton had five criterion that an animal should meet for it to be considered a suitable candidate for domestication. The five requirements are as follows: hardy, endowed with an inborn liking for man, comfort loving, able to breed freely, and low need. If we are to attempt applying Galton’s criterion to the sea bass to discern whether it is a good candidate for aquaculture, the answer is obvious. It is not. After reading Greenberg’s chapter on the sea bass, one may consider it is amazing that it can be farmed at all. Reading Four Fish, one will learn that to be bred in captivity great scientific discovery had to made. To spawn the sea bass, they require a hormone that must be released very carefully in order to trigger the fish to release all of its eggs. The great pains taken to spawn seabass alone make them a poor choice given Galton’s requirements. However, once sea bass are spawned, they are difficult to feed and care for. Greenberg explains that the seabass’s diet must be carefully planned out over the course of its life, and then oil from the feed must be scooped off the surface of the water for the seabass’s swim bladder to properly develop. These difficulties, among others, make the seabass a poor choice for aquaculture. The effort gone into farming seabass, much like salmon, seems to have been done under the guise of fighting food insecurity. However, Greenberg seems to allude throughout his chapter on the seabass, as well as in his chapter on the salmon, that there is more to the story. What seems to be driving the choice to farm these fish is their marketability to the public. The Patagonian toothed fish was hard to sell until rebranded as Chilean seabass, according to Greenberg. This seems to drive home Greenberg’s point. Humans may not be looking so much for a sustainable food source as much as they are a status symbol or something they believe should taste good.

    1. After reading about everything that goes into aqua culturing sea bass, I was surprised that people were able to successfully do it too. Good point in thinking it’s more about status than sustainability. Maybe if people put that much effort into a few other problems I can think of, food security might not be such an issue.

    2. I think you hit on a good point there. Most people (in Western societies, that is) that are well off aren’t just looking for food, they’re looking for “luxury” food. It’s not enough to be edible, sustainable and nutritious, it has to be a symbol. Unfortunately, decadence is a large driver of this market.

  9. Seabass, according to Sir Francis Galton’s criteria, are not a good candidate for aquaculture cultivation. First, they have to be hardy which sea bass are not, around 99 percent of the population never makes it to adulthood. Sea bass produce millions of eggs but only a few actually mature into adults after being attacked by diseases. Sea bass are not easy to contain and reproduction issues arise from being contained. Along with that, if they are farmed they cannot be placed in a tank together for reproduction due to them just simply not mating.
    However, since many Europeans enjoyed eating the sea bass, they wanted to find out a way to make them reproduce. This way they could enjoy consuming them and have a huge abundance of them without any problems. Many people knew that if they could contain them, the fish would be in high demand and bring in a lot of money. Since the biggest problem was that sea bass would not spawn in captivity, researchers started using modern technology to explain it.
    Greenberg describes just how important sea bass is to Europe but in a way, they should have not wasted so many resources and money on this particular fish. They should have picked a different fish to evaluate and study. Thanasis bred the 2,153 survivors of the first flock and the results were shocking. Fifty percent of them had crooked backbones, they were still edible but no one wanted them because they were “unappealing.” In a way, it wasn’t about keeping the populations growing so humans could eat them, it was more a symbol for status.

    1. Hello!
      I agree that, more than wanting a viable source of food, the biggest reason behind choosing sea bass was some sort of social status. So much that, even when managing to reproduce them after years of trial and error, it’s just not the same if they don’t look “appealing”. I’m not a fish connoisseur, but I also highly doubt their taste is particularly unique enough to justify choosing it over other species.

    2. I agree. I wonder how much money could have been save if another more suitable fish had been chosen. I found it interesting when reading on how this fish came about and it is treated in restaurants; it really is a symbol of status not only for an individual but possibly for an industry serving this fish.

  10. Of the main criteria set by Sir Francis Galton, sea bass didn’t meet any. The sea bass are far from hardy creatures, as only few of millions survive. In Terms of being able to breed freely, they do not and it is something that cannot be induced. Like many other aquatic species they have zero care for man. Comfort loving; they despise containment. And finally easy to tend – when born they are unprepared, and humans care for them would have to build a hunting ground of sorts for the seabass to lean. So with this, in terms of set criteria, sea bass are not a good candidate for aquaculture, but alas years of science has made the fish a better candidate and they are now a commercially important species.

    1. Exactly. The supply and demand have pushed us further and further from healthy sustainable fisheries. In this case the mass farming of an unsuitable species to meet the demand of many nations. Great read.

  11. The five main principles that Sir Francis Galton came up with were not fulfilled at all by sea bas: Greenberg argues that by following these standards of domestication, the sea bass was not the “best choice” because it is difficult to breed, and hard to keep alive and help thrive past its larval stage, and requires a substantial amount of food. Deciding what species are good for aquaculture is a complex choice, but after reading Greenberg’s chapter it is so surprising to me that sea bass could even be considered as a candidate for fish farming. However, so much effort has gone into their production because despite them not fitting into the specific criterion that Galton came up with, they are a fish that people are familiar with and eager to consume.

    We really are creatures of habit–Greenberg says that when marketing a fish species with an exotic name, we should instead look for a recognizable name that people know. I think that says a lot about us, our cultures, and our societies that we are willing to eat sea bass despite the fact that it is not easy to raise and farm, but not go for something with an unfamiliar name. Instead of looking for something sustainable, something that is easy to raise and not harsh on the environment, we look for what we know. I didn’t realize this is why sea bass were so popular until I read this chapter and branched out and did some further research on this.

    Maybe I’m just a bad consumer and haven’t taken the time to learn about the history of fish species, or fish farming. It still seems wild to me that although sea bass don’t fit the criteria for good ‘aquaculture’ farming, they are super popular and marketable. This chapter definitely made me reflect on my own consumption of foods and where they come from.

    1. It is interesting. Sea Bass do not fit the criteria but they are in such high demand that we over look just how unsuitable or inadequate the species maybe. Supply and demand seem to have a larger impact than what the scientific data actually supports. Great read.

  12. The criteria that Sir Francis Galton (epic name) made did not apply at all to the sea bass. Out of the 5 points, I think one of the ones that I find funny is they should “have an inborn liking for man”. I can’t imagine that the first “cow” or the first “chicken” had an inborn liking for man. I don’t think that the first cow happily wander into the pen that a man put out for them, I think that they were easy to (eventually) control. I think that the point should be “can eventually be dominated by man”, I think that that would be more applicable to anything that you want to mass produce for food. Humans always have to do things the hardest way possible, if they used all the time looking for an easier fish to mass-produce instead of fixing all the problems with the seabass we would be a lot better off. One good thing that has come with the years of research is that we learned something…

    1. It struck me as funny that one of the criteria had to be “liking of man” too! It makes sense, but at the same time, what animal ever did like man until it was tamed?

    2. Linnaea, I also picked up oh how funny it is that one of the criteria is having a liking for man–although there are some char mastic animals, we don’t farm many of them. Why would we farm something like a domestic dog?

  13. Sir Francis Galton’s measures on his embryo projects raised for him to have the basic standards for agriculture of organisms. Now the question is, are sea bass a good candidate for agriculture?, I believe It’s favored more to what the demand of the population wants. The Seabass now which is farmed require so much detail and precise care in result of growth of the species, not mention of how stress levels implemented to the fishes and they can’t reproduce without being coached by humans, so much work goes into trying to reproduce the sea bass and have satisfactory of amounts and the work is much more greater than the result they want. It’s the demand of the popularity that drives to farm the species. That’s why there’s so much investment, so much money and so much investigation and proper care for them. At this point it’s not about what’s logical or what we should do with the species we have, it’s just about marketing more and trying to make everything grow faster quicker and be taken out to the public.

    1. I agree that the demand for the sea bass fuels the tedious caring of seabass. I think that the sea bass and other strenuous species are not going to go away soon, like you said the ends justify the means I think the oceans would have to give out before we considered stopping.

  14. What Sir Francis Galton deemed cultivable were species or fish that were: “hardy, endowed with an inborn liking to man, comfort-loving, able to breed freely, and needful of only a minimal amount of tending.”
    I would say that sea bass aren’t that great of a candidate for aquaculture as the book states, “It is a failure in every category.” Sea bass are extremely vulnerable in their larval stages and prone to different diseases and problems. They are indifferent to man, like the majority of fish are. They are not particularly comfort loving, even going so far as to shred themselves against the netting in pens until they die. Many perciform fish species are found to shut down their breeding activity once in captivity, eliminating the ability to breed freely. Sea bass are not easy to feed either, as people have to recreate their prey that they need to survive in their first few days of life, which is microscopic. With all of these issues to have to deal with, it’s surprising that anyone got so far with creating a whole aquaculture industry around them.
    I think that so much effort has gone into the aquaculturing of sea bass because of their attractiveness to the consumer. They were already a very well-known fish species and people like what they know best. People like how they taste and they are found all over the world, and so familiar to people wherever they might travel. While they might not be the easiest fish to farm, people will definitely buy them.

    1. Hi, Peyton
      I agree fully with you on the matter of these fish being cultivated solely for their, as you put it, “attractiveness to the consumer.” I really like the wording you used in that expression alone, honestly. I also appreciated your use of in-text citations when stating your points!

    2. Is the inborn liking for man the most important criteria, if so why do we try to domesticate and mass produce fish? Like you said the majority of fish don’t care about humans, so why are fish such a big deal? We have other sources of protein. It is because we found a lot of them in the sea, got invested, then the fish started to go away, and the people who had invested panicked and pushed for farming them?

  15. When using Francis Galton’s criteria for domestication, European Sea Bass are quite literally the opposite of a favorable candidate for aquaculture. They are, at best, indifferent to humans, high-maintenance, have a low survival rate at the larval/egg stage, and don’t take well to captivity. However, the effort put towards their production is driven by the notion of success regardless. While they may not be ideal candidates for aquaculture, they are, undoubtedly, a very lucrative fish species. Extremely popular in consumer circles, not only for the skill put into the preparation of these dishes and sheer size of the fish, but because of their novelty as being “European”. They sell well on markets, and thus, the reward of staggering sale rates within fish markets, restaurant suppliers, etc. greatly outnumbers the risk when dealing with a fish species such as the Sea Bass. Regardless, as pointed out by my peers, the fish can always be modified in the hands of those who wish to sell their product. The effort to domesticate Sea Bass has been a long, strenuous endeavor from all the way back in ancient Rome. It’s not farfetched to assume humans will not tamper and “adjust” the species to their taste, such as has been done to salmon. Afterall, the Sea Bass has already been familiarized within Europe and is now becoming more familiar and popular in America as a delicacy; it’s clear to see that there’s merit to putting up with the difficult circumstances that come with curating this fish!

    1. Elias, I liked your comment about how fish can be modified in the hands of those who wish to sell their product. I think that this says a lot about humans and our ability to create or destroy. It’s interesting to see how want outweighs risks in scenarios like this.

    2. I really like that statement it’s almost no cost with all the hard work into the species of sea bass to showcase and sell to the people the goal is greater to them than the difficult process in farming the species.

  16. The criteria described by Sir Francis Galton in regards to which fish are good to cultivate, the sea bass would be a horrible option to choose. Sea bass, while in the early stages of life, are extremely fragile and have a high risk of becoming sick with a disease or dying from stress. Although they do lay eggs in the thousands, very few end up making it into adulthood due to just not being hardy fish to begin with. They also typically refuse to mate while in captivity leading them to require natural environments to reproduce and also to feed. These fish do not tolerate being handled by humans very well as they are super sensitive. I can personally testify to this as back home in Cali, if we were to catch one that was short we did everything we could to avoid taking them out of the water as they would have a habit of turning belly up if you took them out all of the way. These traits result in sea bass being high in needs in order to keep alive. I think the best method they can do to supply a healthy sea bass fishery would be the establishment of breeding zones and marine reserves in the wild so the fish can focus on reproduction as naturally and stress free as possible. I have seen sea bass breeding sites like this established in Newport Harbor in California as well as Oxnard with a good amount of small sea bass in the surrounding areas.
    I believe that so much effort has gone into the cultivation of sea bass due to the high market demand for their meat. Sea bass are a popular fish for consumption as they have a white, flaky, buttery meat that many people enjoy. The fish also grow pretty large making an individual fish worth a good amount of money. Effort was put into the cultivation of these fish because of their market value and not due to the chances of success. However with genetic modifications, in the future I think it may become possible to develop a species of sea bass that is better suited for cultivation but we are not near that point yet.

    1. Hi, Logan
      I found your addition of your personal experience with Sea Bass interesting, I feel that it gave you more of a sense of credibility to talk about the matter at hand. More than me, for sure, as I’ve never personally handled the species. I believe your idea on how to properly handle the species, that being the suggestion of using a marine reserve + breeding site was really inspired. I feel that it is truly a method that could work in cultivating this species in a genuinely efficient way.

  17. According to Francis Galton’s guidelines to animal domestication, the Sea Bass would not actually be a strong contender for the aquaculture project. The criteria listed were at best very general and a good perspective for what people of the time actually thought. Galtons criteria are; hardy, endowed with an inborn liking for man, comfort loving, able to breed freely, and needful of minimal tending. Of these criteria the Sea Bass does not fit the bill. For instance breeding is said to be conditional on environmental variables and the fish themselves often do not go in to reproduction “mode” unless environmental stimulus is not correct. Sea Bass are indifferent of man per criteria number 2. As time has progressed so has our allowances on what can be considered a good contender for domestication.

  18. The five-point criteria derived from Sir Francis Galton specified that when considering domesticating an animal they should be able to endure harsh conditions, have a natural liking to humans, thrive in captivity, breed freely and generally be low maintenance, needing little interaction. Looking at these concepts, Seabass are likely one of the worst candidates for domestication as they are not hardy, are indifferent to humans, hate captivity, are mysterious in the ways they reproduce, and start out life blatantly unprepared needing a lot of care to grow. However when considering some of the morphological adaptations perciforms have like the swimbladder for example, it makes sense that these fish would not need to work as hard compared to more simple fish without swimbladders that need to exert more energy to not sink. So generally speaking, Perciforms of any species have a very desirable meat composition that has very few bones in a fillet. This is all in part due to Perciforms expending less energy than other fish. So, when considering if Seabass are a good candidate for aquaculture, I think it comes down to if it is worth it to the market. Scientific advancements in hormone treatments have made it to where we can overcome some of the barriers faced with domesticating organisms like the Seabass, but gathering the logistics needed to sustain such a high maintenance fish in a closed off farm does seem daunting. The meat that comes from Seabass seems extraordinary, so perhaps domesticating it, despite the hardships, is worth it.

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