What is Aquaculture
What is Aquaculture?
Aquaculture is the process of breeding, growing, managing, farming and harvesting aquatic plants and/or animals within a controlled environment. Aquaculture is often used to produce food and allow certain species to grow and multiply in order to replenish their populations. This is usually done in order to minimize the decline in numbers of many species, such as those that are considered endangered or protected. Aquaculture is also practiced in order to ensure the steady supply of fish and aquatic plants that are used for human and animal consumption, and thus have a high demand. It is used to cultivate both freshwater and marine species.
Aquaculture may involve the growing and breeding of fish and aquatic plants from the first to the last phase of their lives prior to harvest or release. It may also be used to breed and manage aquatic creatures for a portion of their breeding or life cycles. Aquaculture is one of the oldest methods applied by humans in order to control their source of food. The process of breeding and production may be performed in open ocean or in a land-based facility.
Much of the world’s food supply relies on aquaculture. It is so important that it affects the world’s economies and heavily influences many industries, including food, agriculture and manufacturing. Learn more about aquaculture, its importance and the role it plays to keep the world fed.
Types of Aquaculture
Aquaponics Aquaculture – also known as pisciponics is a sustainable food production system that combines conventional aquaculture with hydroponics.
Marine Aquaculture – involves the cultivation and harvest of aquatic plant and animal species that live and grow in the ocean. Facilities may be built in the ocean or in a land-based structure such as a tank or pond.
Freshwater Aquaculture – involves the cultivation of freshwater-dwelling aquatic plant and animal species. Facilities for freshwater aquaculture are usually built on land or around natural bodies of water such as lakes and ponds.
Types of Fish and Aquatic Animals Used For Aquaculture
Tilapia, Kobia, Shrimp and Prawn, Crabs, Cod, Salmon, Catfish, and Striped Bass
Rainbow Trout, Oysters, Clams, Mussels, Scallops, Sea Urchins, Sea Cucumbers, Jellyfish, Various Amphibians and Aquatic Reptiles.
Types of Aquatic Plants Grown For Aquaculture
Seaweeds, Algae, and Phytoplankton.
What are the benefits of Aquaculture?
Aquaculture provides a number of benefits that makes it a very important industry. Some of its most important contributions include:
Control – Growing fish and aquatic plants in aquaculture affords organizations the ability to control the quality and characteristics of the species that will be grown and harvested. This will help improve not just the source of food but also the batches that will be used to replenish a certain population of fish or plant.
Consistency – Through aquaculture, the population and supply of fish and aquatic plants can be maintained at a level sufficient enough to ensure continuous supply to meet market demand.
Economy – The aquaculture industry employs thousands of individuals in the U.S. and millions more worldwide. Cultured fish also provides opportunities for export industries, since cultured fish and plants are in high demand in other countries.
Sustainability – Aquaculture ensures the continued supply of fish and aquatic plants using readily available resources in terms of feed, facility and supply.
The Future of Aquaculture
As demand for better quality and quantity of fish and aquatic plants increase, aquaculture shows a strong potential for more growth in the future. In 2009 alone, the market for cultured fish and aquatic resources was valued at over US$85 million. It also sustains a huge chunk of the economies of many countries including China, Chile, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and India, among others. The U.S. itself enjoys and benefits from the export and import of cultured fish and aquatic resources.
Aquaculture also plays a critical role in ensuring the balance in the world’s food supply. Furthermore, it also supports other industries, including construction, manufacturing, agriculture and even pharmaceuticals. Many of the farmed species of fish, for example, are used as sources of omega-3 and omega-6 oils which are used for food and dietary supplements. Although improvements in technologies can and will occur, expect current practices in aquaculture to change in order to meet consumer demands, preferences and even taste. With aquaculture, food no longer has to be a necessity but also a luxury, and an evolving market may just dictate where the industry will be headed.