aquaculture n : rearing aquatic animals or cultivating aquatic plants for food
Aquaculture is the farming of freshwater and saltwater organisms. Unlike fishing, aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, implies the cultivation of aquatic populations under controlled conditions. Mariculture refers to aquaculture practiced in marine environments. Particular kinds of aquaculture include algaculture (the production of kelp/seaweed and other algae); fish farming; shrimp farming, shellfish farming, and the growing of cultured pearls.
HistoryAquaculture has been used in China since circa 2500 BC. When the waters lowered after river floods, some fishes, mainly carp, were held in artificial lakes. Their brood were later fed using nymphs and silkworm feces, while the fish themselves were eaten as a source of protein. By a fortunate genetic mutation, this early domestication of carp led to the development of goldfish in the Tang Dynasty.
The Hawaiian people practiced aquaculture by constructing fish ponds (see Hawaiian aquaculture). A remarkable example from ancient Hawaii is the construction of a fish pond, dating from at least 1,000 years ago, at Alekoko. According to legend, it was constructed by the mythical Menehune. The Japanese practiced cultivation of seaweed by providing bamboo poles and, later, nets and oyster shells to serve as anchoring surfaces for spores. The Romans often bred fish in ponds.
The practice of aquaculture gained prevalence in Europe during the Middle Ages, since fish were scarce and thus expensive. However, improvements in transportation during the 19th century made fish easily available and inexpensive, even in inland areas, causing a decline in the practice. The first North American fish hatchery was constructed on Dildo Island, Newfoundland Canada in 1889, it was the largest and most advanced in the world.
Americans were rarely involved in aquaculture until the late 20th century, but California residents harvested wild kelp and made legal efforts to manage the supply starting circa 1900, later even producing it as a wartime resource. (Peter Neushul, Seaweed for War: California's World War I kelp industry, Technology and Culture 30 (July 1989), 561-583)
Actually, there was keen interest in aquaculture in the United States as early as 1859 when Stephen Ainsworth of West Bloomfield, NY began his experiments with brook trout. By 1864 Seth Green had established a commercial fish hatching operation at Caledonia Springs, near Rochester, NY. By 1866, with the involvement of Dr. W. W. Fletcher of Concord Mass, artificial fish hatching operations were under way in both Canada and the United States.
In contrast to agriculture, the rise of aquaculture is a contemporary phenomenon. According to professor Carlos M. Duarte About 430 (97%) of the aquatic species presently in culture have been domesticated since the start of the 20th century, and an estimated 106 aquatic species have been domesticated over the past decade. The domestication of an aquatic species typically involves about a decade of scientific research. Current success in the domestication of aquatic species results from the 20th century rise of knowledge on the basic biology of aquatic species and the lessons learned from past success and failure. The stagnation in the world's fisheries and overexploitation of 20 to 30% of marine fish species have provided additional impetus to domesticate marine species, just as overexploitation of land animals provided the impetus for the early domestication of land species
In the 1960s, the price of fish began to climb, as wild fish capture rates peaked and the human population continued to rise. Today, commercial aquaculture exists on an unprecedented, huge scale. In the 1980s, open-netcage salmon farming also expanded; this particular type of aquaculture technology remains a minor part of the production of farmed finfish worldwide, but possible negative impacts on wild stocks, which have come into question since the late 1990s, have caused it to become a major cause of controversy. http://www.davidsuzuki.org/Oceans/Aquaculture/Salmon/
Economic roleIn 2003, the total world production of fisheries product was 132.2 million tonnes of which aquaculture contributed 41.9 million tonnes or about 31% of the total world production. The growth rate of worldwide aquaculture is very rapid (> 10% per year for most species) while the contribution to the total from wild fisheries has been essentially flat for the last decade.
In the US, approximately 90% of all shrimp consumed is farmed and imported. http://www.fao.org/docrep/007/y5600e/y5600e00.HTM In recent years salmon aquaculture has become a major export in southern Chile, especially in Puerto Montt and Quellón, Chile's fastest-growing city.
Aquaculture is an especially important economic activity in China. Between 1980 and 1997, the Chinese Bureau of Fisheries reports, aquaculture harvests grew at an annual rate of 16.7 percent, jumping from 1.9 million to nearly 23 million tons. China now produces 70% of the world's farmed fish. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.05/fish.html http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A31159-2005Jan23?language=printer
Environmental impactsThe concentrated nature of aquaculture often leads to higher than normal levels of fish waste in the water. Fish waste is organic and composed of nutrients necessary in all components of aquatic food webs. In some instances such as nearshore, high-intensity operations, increased waste can adversely affect the environment by decreasing dissolved oxygen levels in the water column. Onshore recirculating aquaculture systems, facilities using polyculture techniques, and properly-sited facilities (e.g. offshore or areas with strong currents) are examples of ways to reduce or eliminate the negative environmental effects of fish waste.
Types of aquaculture
Algaculture is a form of aquaculture involving the farming of species of algae. The majority of algae that are intentionally cultivated fall into the category of microalgae, also referred to as phytoplankton, microphytes, or planktonic algae.
Macroalgae, commonly know as seaweed, also have many commercial and industrial uses, but due to their size and the specific requirements of the environment in which they need to grow, they do not lend themselves as readily to cultivation on a large scale as microalgae and are most often harvested wild from the ocean.
Fish farmingFish farming is the principal form of aquaculture, while other methods may fall under mariculture. It involves raising fish commercially in tanks or enclosures, usually for food. A facility that releases juvenile fish into the wild for recreational fishing or to supplement a species' natural numbers is generally referred to as a fish hatchery. Fish species raised by fish farms include salmon, catfish, tilapia, cod, carp, trout and others.
Increasing demands on wild fisheries by commercial fishing operations have caused widespread overfishing. Fish farming offers an alternative solution to the increasing market demand for fish and fish protein.
Freshwater prawn farmingA freshwater prawn farm is an aquaculture business designed to raise and produce freshwater prawn or shrimp for human consumption. Freshwater prawn farming shares many characteristics with, and many of the same problems as, marine shrimp farming. Unique problems are introduced by the developmental life cycle of the main species (the giant river prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii).
The global annual production of freshwater prawns (excluding crayfish and crabs) in 2003 was about 280,000 tons, of which China produced some 180,000 tons, followed by India and Thailand with some 35,000 tons each. Additionally, China produced about 370,000 tons of Chinese river crab (Eriocheir sinensis).
Integrated multi-trophic aquacultureIntegrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) is a practice in which the by-products (wastes) from one species are recycled to become inputs (fertilizers, food) for another. Fed aquaculture (e.g. fish, shrimp) is combined with inorganic extractive (e.g. seaweed) and organic extractive (e.g. shellfish) aquaculture to create balanced systems for environmental sustainability (biomitigation), economic stability (product diversification and risk reduction) and social acceptability (better management practices).
"Multi-Trophic" refers to the incorporation of species from different trophic or nutritional levels in the same system. This is one potential distinction from the age-old practice of aquatic polyculture, which could simply be the co-culture of different fish species from the same trophic level. In this case, these organisms may all share the same biological and chemical processes, with few synergistic benefits, which could potentially lead to significant shifts in the ecosystem. Some traditional polyculture systems may, in fact, incorporate a greater diversity of species, occupying several niches, as extensive cultures (low intensity, low management) within the same pond. The "Integrated" in IMTA refers to the more intensive cultivation of the different species in proximity of each other, connected by nutrient and energy transfer through water, but not necessarily right at the same location.
Ideally, the biological and chemical processes in an IMTA system should balance. This is achieved through the appropriate selection and proportions of different species providing different ecosystem functions. The co-cultured species should be more than just biofilters; they should also be harvestable crops of commercial value.
Sometimes the more general term "Integrated Aquaculture" is used to describe the integration of monocultures through water transfer between organisms. For all intents and purposes however, the terms "IMTA" and "integrated aquaculture" differ primarily in their degree of descriptiveness. These terms are sometimes interchanged. Aquaponics, fractionated aquaculture, IAAS (integrated agriculture-aquaculture systems), IPUAS (integrated peri-urban-aquaculture systems), and IFAS (integrated fisheries-aquaculture systems) may also be considered variations of the IMTA concept.
MaricultureMariculture is a specialized branch of aquaculture involving the cultivation of marine organisms for food and other products in the open ocean, an enclosed section of the ocean, or in tanks, ponds or raceways which are filled with seawater. An example of the latter is the farming of marine fish, prawns, or oysters in saltwater ponds. Non-food products produced by mariculture include: fish meal, nutrient agar, jewelries (e.g. cultured pearls), and cosmetics.
Shrimp farmingA shrimp farm is an aquaculture business for the cultivation of marine shrimp for human consumption. Commercial shrimp farming began in the 1970s, and production grew steeply, particularly to match the market demands of the U.S., Japan and Western Europe. The total global production of farmed shrimp reached more than 1.6 million tonnes in 2003, representing a value of nearly 9,000 million U.S. dollars. About 75% of farmed shrimp is produced in Asia, in particular in China and Thailand. The other 25% is produced mainly in Latin America, where Brazil is the largest producer. The largest exporting nation is Thailand.
Shrimp farming has changed from traditional, small-scale businesses in Southeast Asia into a global industry. Technological advances have led to growing shrimp at ever higher densities, and broodstock is shipped world-wide. Virtually all farmed shrimp are penaeids (i.e., shrimp of the family Penaeidae), and just two species of shrimp—the Penaeus vannamei (Pacific white shrimp) and the Penaeus monodon (giant tiger prawn)—account for roughly 80% of all farmed shrimp. These industrial monocultures are very susceptible to diseases, which have caused several regional wipe-outs of farm shrimp populations. Increasing ecological problems, repeated disease outbreaks, and pressure and criticism from both NGOs and consumer countries led to changes in the industry in the late 1990s and generally stronger regulation by governments. In 1999, a program aimed at developing and promoting more sustainable farming practices was initiated, including governmental bodies, industry representatives, and environmental organizations.
Types of fish in aquaculture
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- Hepburn, J. 2002. Taking Aquaculture Seriously. Organic Farming, Winter 2002 © Soil Association.
- Kinsey, Darin, 2006 "'Seeding the water as the earth' : epicentre and peripheries of a global aquacultural revolution. Environmental History 11, 3: 527-66
- Naylor, R.L., S.L. Williams, and D.R. Strong. 2001. Aquaculture – A Gateway For Exotic Species. Science, 294: 1655-6.
- The Scottish Association for Marine Science and Napier University. 2002. Review and synthesis of the environmental impacts of aquaculture
- Higginbotham James Piscinae: Artificial Fishponds in Roman Italy University of North Carolina Press (June, 1997)
- Wyban, Carol Araki (1992) Tide and Current: Fishponds of Hawai'I University of Hawaii Press :: ISBN 0-8248-1396-0
- Timmons, M.B., Ebeling, J.M., Wheaton, F.W., Summerfelt, S.T., Vinci, B.J., 2002. Recirculating Aquaculture Systems: 2nd edition. Cayuga Aqua Ventures.
- Piedrahita, R.H., 2003. Reducing the potential environmental impacts of tank aquaculture effluents through intensification and recirculation. Aquaculture 226, 35-44.
- Klas, S., Mozes, N., Lahav, O., 2006. Development of a single-sludge denitrification method for nitrate removal from RAS effluents: Lab-scale results vs. model prediction. Aquaculture 259, 342-353.
- Rapid Domestication of Marine Species, Carlos M. Duarte, Nùria Marbá, Marianne Holmer; Science 20 April 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5823, pp. 382 – 383
- AquaLingua ISBN 82-529-2389-5
- NOAA aquaculture: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – website for information about marine aquaculture in the US and elsewhere.
- Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific: Intergovernmental organization with 17 members that produce > 85% of global aquaculture production. Free news and full-text aquaculture publications for download.
- The World Aquaculture Society: an international non-profit society with over 3,000 members in 94 countries with the primary focus to improve communication and information exchange within the diverse global aquaculture community.
- Aquaculture Association of Canada:
- Aquaculture Information Bureau: Scottish based Aquaculture Information Bureau.]
- Aqua Farm Designs - Benefits of Water recirculation systems in Aquaculture: Description of water recirculation aquaculture systems and benefits of using these types of farm designs to produce fish within eco-friendly land based enclosed aquaculture operations.
- FishingHurts.com/FishFarms: Criticism of aquaculture's effects on animal welfare and the environment
- Aquaculture Information from the Coastal Ocean Institute, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
- Aquaculture Resources Directory A directory of reference links and downloadable reports, articles from numerous sources.
- FAO Fisheries Department and its SOFIA report on fisheries and aquaculture
- Organic Aquaculture: Articles and references on the merits and otherwise of farming fish organically.
- Aquaculture Knowledge Environment: A searchable online library of government and United Nations documents covering nearly every aspect of aquaculture from pond construction to international codes of conduct.
- Watershed Watch Society Salmon farming and sea lice
- AquaNIC A comprehensive information server for aquaculture topics, including publications, news, events, job announcements, images, and related resources.
- American Fisheries Society
- Read Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports regarding Aquaculture
- FISHING FOR INFORMATION HOME PAGE: Guide to on-line resources in aquaculture, fisheries and aquatic science
- Aquaculture Resources for Ethno-Anthropologists News mirror service in the field of aquaculture with focus on its social effects
- Aquaculture and the Protection of Wild Salmon
- Aquaculture and Information
- AAAS science magazine feature on aquaculture
- AAAS science podcast of 20 April 2007 features Carlos M. Duarte on the surprising growth in cultivation of aquatic species
- Web based aquaculture simulations for shellfish in estuaries and coastal systems: Simulation modelling for mussels, oysters and clams.
- Social & Economic Benefits of Aquaculture from "NOAA Socioeconomics" website initiative
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