Recent literature on marine fish farming brands it as potentially compatible with sustainable resource use, conservation, and human nutrition goals, and aligns with the emerging policy discourse of ‘blue growth’. We advance a two-pronged critique. First, contemporary narratives tend to overstate marine finfish aquaculture’s potential to deliver food security and environmental sustainability. Second, they often align with efforts to enclose maritime space that could facilitate its allocation to extractive industries and conservation interests and exclude fishers. Policies and investments that seek to increase the availability and accessibility of affordable and sustainable farmed aquatic foods should focus on freshwater aquaculture.