Sunny Z. Akhter is on a mission to address the critics.
“Aquaculture is one of the most promising ways to produce proteins for the rising human population in a sustainable way,” Akhter told SalmonBusiness.
But the above statement struggles to trickle down to the public, especially since most legacy media treat any kind of sea farming like it’s some kind of constant existential threat.
In light of this, aquaculture professional Akhter, who has written editorials in SalmonBusiness and iLaks, has set up a YouTube channel called Aquaculture Tribe.
A vet by trade, Akhter has ten years of experience in aquaculture and aquaculture nutrition and works closely with start-ups to solve such challenges.
“Unfortunately, outside the aquaculture world, very few people have the insights about aquaculture and how it is contributing to the sustainable food system which benefits both people and planet,” he said about his reasons to start.
Akhter said that it is already one of the largest English language channels covering aquaculture and especially aquaculture nutrition. To date, it has around 1,300 subscribers, and its most popular video “How to make fish feed? Part 1” has clocked up nearly 36,000 views.
Though Akhter said that “this is not enough to tackle the issues of widespread misinformation out there”.
He first started the campaign on LinkedIn and Twitter called “Aquaculture Facts” to improve the image of the aquaculture industry and to educate people about the importance of its role in securing future and current food systems.
“I also see that there is a deliberate attempt by some actors in putting aquaculture in the bad light and spread misconceptions and wrong information,” he said.
In one video, he criticises and refutes the claims of NGO Changing Market Foundation, whose recent Just Economics report said that global salmon farming cost billions in damage. The report was uncritically picked up in the Guardian and even Intrafish.
“They are running a campaign against aquaculture with arguments that are not true. I feel that it is my responsibility to promote aquaculture and clear the misconceptions people have regarding aquaculture so that more and more people can understand the importance of aquaculture,” he said.
“This is true that there are challenges in aquaculture industry like any other protein sector but it is still the most efficient way to produce protein,” he added.
Akhter said that he needed to highlight all aspects of fish farming. He added that he is not afraid to use a bit of charm with a good-natured sense of humour to win people over.
“As far as I know, I do not see too many positive and insightful videos about aquaculture on the platform like YouTube especially, at least in English,” said the YouTuber.
“You will be surprised to see how much misleading and unscientific information is out on the platform regarding aquaculture with millions of views. I am doing my little effort to change that,” concluded Akhter.