Describing aquaculture as a dirty industry is inaccurate and fails to reflect its role in providing healthy food, says Phil MacMullen, Seafish head of environment. A recent Sunday newspaper article suggested fish farming was "the biggest ecological disaster to hit the west coast of Scotland in living memory", and the writer expressed pleasure at the demise of organic farmed cod producer Johnson Seafarms, the company behind No Catch. It went into administration because it was unable to get the product flow to bring back the equity needed in what was a niche market. White fish that is acceptable as a substitute for cod is quite abundant in some waters, and even wild cod can retail for as little as £6/kg at retail compared with £20/kg for farmed cod - quite a premium and therefore making it a niche product. Farmed cod may have failed to take off in Shetland, but aquaculture as a whole is an essential means of feeding a growing world population. Fish farming already provides 50% of the global fish supply for food Instead of using examples of bad husbandry to dismiss fish farming, we need to promote good manufacturing practices. The expertise in aquacullture that has defined standards for animal welfare, stocking densities and slaughter techniques has shown that fish farmers are prepared to work in an ethical and responsible fashion; that message must be put across to everyone. And what of the impact of fish farming on the tiny species of wild fish used for feed? We no longer use sand eels in fishmeal, but instead non-food fish species and fish offal from processing plants. And it is nonsense to suggest that fish are poor converters of feed into flesh. Fish convert protein at a much higher rate than any land animal because they don't have to support their body mass against gravity. As their weight is supported by the water they convert extremely efficiently, so it is greener to eat farmed fish than farmed animals. The Western diet can only be improved by eating more fish, and the health benefits of Omega-3 can be maximised by the careful formulation of aquaculture feeds, a luxury not possible with wild fish. It is true that there are pollution issues that need to be addressed on farms that have been badly sited. But pollution control is a matter of good husbandry, and it is perfectly possible for fish farming to be non-polluting and also to minimise escapes. Without aquaculture, fish supplies would be a great deal less plentiful and a lot more expensive, and there would be a greater reliance on farmed meat, which would no doubt provide food campaigners with their next target.