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Photo of shoreline with buildings next to the shore and wooody hillside in the background

Aquaculture installations in southern Chile

Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish[1][2] under controlled conditions, and can be contrasted with commercial fishing, which is the harvesting of wild fish.[3]

In current aquaculture practice, products from several pounds of wild fish are used to produce one pound of a piscivorous fish like rainbow trout.[4]

Particular kinds of aquaculture include fish farming, hrimp farming, oyster farming and the cultivation of ornamental fish. Particular methods include aquaponics, which integrates fish farming and plant farming.

HistoryEdit

Photo of dripping, cup-shaped net, approximately 6 ft in diameter and equally tall, half full of fish, suspended from crane boom, with 4 workers on and around larger, ring-shaped structure in water

Workers harvest catfish from the Delta Pride Catfish farms in Mississippi

Aquaculture was operating in China circa 2500 BC.[5] When the waters subsided after river floods, some fishes, mainly carp, were trapped in lakes. Early aquaculturists fed their brood using nymphs and silkworm feces, and ate them. A fortunate genetic mutation of carp led to the emergence of goldfish during the Tang Dynasty.

Romans bred fish in ponds.[6]

In central Europe, early Christian monasteries adopted Roman aquacultural practices.[7] Aquaculture spread in Europe during the Middle Ages, since away from the seacoasts and the big rivers, fish were scarce and expensive. Improvements in transportation during the 19th century made fish easily available and inexpensive, even in inland areas, making aquaculture less popular.

In 1859 Stephen Ainsworth of West Bloomfield, New York, began experiments with brook trout. By 1864 Seth Green had established a commercial fish hatching operation at Caledonia Springs, near Rochester, New York. By 1866, with the involvement of Dr. W. W. Fletcher of Concord, Massachusetts, artificial fish hatcheries were under way in both Canada and the United States.[8] When the Dildo Island fish hatchery opened in Newfoundland in 1889, it was the largest and most advanced in the world.

Californians harvested wild kelp and attempted to manage supply circa 1900, later labeling it a wartime resource.[9]

Picture of 5 or more dripping fish suspended on a vertical string or stick

Tilapia, a commonly farmed fish due to its adaptability

21st century practiceEdit

About 430 (97%) of the species cultured as of 2007 were domesticated during the 20th century, of which an estimated 106 came in the decade to 2007. Given the long-term importance of agriculture, it is interesting to note that to date only 0.08% of known land plant species and 0.0002% of known land animal species have been domesticated, compared with 0.17% of known marine plant species and 0.13% of known marine animal species. Domestication typically involves about a decade of scientific research.

Harvest stagnation in wild fisheries and overexploitation of popular marine species, combined with a growing demand for high quality protein encourages aquaculturists to domesticate more marine species.[10][11]

Production volumeEdit

In 2004, the total world production of fisheries was 140 million tonnes of which aquaculture contributed 45 million tonnes, about one third.[12] The growth rate of worldwide aquaculture has been sustained and rapid, averaging about 8 percent per annum for over thirty years, while the take from wild fisheries has been essentially flat for the last decade. The aquaculture market reached $86 billion[13] in 2009.[14]

Common carp

Carp are the dominant fish in aquaculture

MethodsEdit

MaricultureEdit

Mariculture is the term used for the cultivation of marine organisms in seawater, usually in sheltered coastal waters. In particular, the farming of marine fish is an example of mariculture, and so also is the farming of marine crustaceans (such as shrimps), molluscs (such as oysters) and seaweed.

IntegratedEdit

Integrated 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 (for example, fish, shrimp) is combined with inorganic extractive (for example, seaweed) and organic extractive (for example, shellfish) aquaculture to create balanced systems for environmental sustainability (biomitigation), economic stability (product diversification and risk reduction) and social acceptability (better management practices).[15]

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 are typically more than just biofilters; they are harvestable crops of commercial value. A working IMTA system can result in greater total production based on mutual benefits to the co-cultured species and improved ecosystem health, even if the production of individual species is lower than in a monoculture over a short term period.[16]

IssuesEdit

Aquaculture can be more environmentally damaging than exploiting wild fisheries on a local area basis but has considerably less impact on the global environment on a per kg of production basis.[17] Local concerns include waste handling, side-effects of antibiotics, competition between farmed and wild animals, and using other fish to feed more marketable carnivorous fish. However, research and commercial feed improvements during the 1990s & 2000s have lessened many of these.[18]

Fish waste is organic and composed of nutrients necessary in all components of aquatic food webs. In-ocean aquaculture often produces much higher than normal fish waste concentrations. The waste collects on the ocean bottom, damaging or eliminating bottom-dwelling life. Waste can also decrease dissolved oxygen levels in the water column, putting further pressure on wild animals.[19]

Impacts on wild fishEdit

Salmon farming currently leads to a high demand for wild forage fish. Fish do not actually produce omega-3 fatty acids, but instead accumulate them from either consuming microalgae that produce these fatty acids, as is the case with forage fish like herring and sardines, or, as is the case with fatty predatory fish, like salmon, by eating prey fish that have accumulated omega-3 fatty acids from microalgae. To satisfy this requirement, more than 50 percent of the world fish oil production is fed to farmed salmon.[20]

In addition, as carnivores, salmon require large nutritional intakes of protein, protein which is often supplied to them in the form of forage fish. Consequently, farmed salmon consume more wild fish than they generate as a final product. To produce one pound of farmed salmon, products from several pounds of wild fish are fed to them. As the salmon farming industry expands, it requires more wild forage fish for feed, at a time when seventy five percent of the worlds monitored fisheries are already near to or have exceeded their maximum sustainable yield.[4] The industrial scale extraction of wild forage fish for salmon farming then impacts the survivability of the wild predator fish who rely on them for food.

Fish can escape from coastal pens, where they can interbreed with their wild counterparts, diluting wild genetic stocks.[21] Escaped fish can become invasive, out competing native species.[22]

Coastal ecosystemsEdit

Aquaculture is becoming a significant threat to coastal ecosystems. About 20 percent of mangrove forests have been destroyed since 1980, partly due to shrimp farming.

Over four decades, 269000 ha of Indonesian mangroves have been converted to shrimp farms. Most of these farms are abandoned within a decade because of the toxin build-up and nutrient loss.[23][24]

Salmon farms are typically sited in pristine coastal ecosystems which they then pollute. A farm with 200,000 salmon discharges more fecal waste than a city of 60,000 people. This waste is discharged directly into the surrounding aquatic environment, untreated, often containing antibiotics and pesticides."[4] There is also an accumulation of heavy metals on the benthos (seafloor) near the salmon farms, particularly copper and zinc.[25]

Prospects Edit

Onshore recirculating aquaculture systems, facilities using polyculture techniques, and properly sited facilities (for example, offshore areas with strong currents) are examples of ways to manage negative environmental effects.

Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) recycle water by circulating it through filters to remove fish waste and food and then recirculating it back into the tanks. This saves water and the waste gathered can be used in compost or, in some cases, could even be treated and used on land. While RAS was developed with freshwater fish in mind, scientist associated with the Agricultural Research Service have found a way to rear saltwater fish using RAS in low-salinity waters.[26] Although saltwater fish are raised in off-shore cages or caught with nets in water that typically has a salinity of 35 parts per thousand (ppt), scientists were able to produce healthy pompano, a saltwater fish, in tanks with a salinity of only 5 ppt. Commercializing low-salinity RAS are predicted to have positive environmental and economical effects. Unwanted nutrients from the fish food would not be added to the ocean and the risk of transmitting diseases between wild and farm-raised fish would greatly be reduced. The price of expensive saltwater fish, such as the pompano and combia used in the experiments, would be reduced. However, before any of this can be done researchers must study every aspect of the fish’s lifecycle, including the amount of ammonia and nitrate the fish will tolerate in the water, what to feed the fish during each stage of its lifecycle, the stocking rate that will produce the healthiest fish, etc.[26]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. Environmental Impact of Aquaculture
  2. Aquaculture’s growth continuing: improved management techniques can reduce environmental effects of the practice.(UPDATE).” Resource: Engineering & Technology for a Sustainable World 16.5 (2009): 20-22. Gale Expanded Academic ASAP. Web. 1 October 2009. <http://find.galegroup.com/‌gtx/‌start.do?prodId=EAIM.>.
  3. American Heritage Definition of Aquaculture
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Seafood Choices Alliance (2005) It's all about salmon
  5. Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations: History of Aquaculture
  6. McCann, Anna Marguerite: The Harbor and Fishery Remains at Cosa, Italy Journal of Field Archaeology Volume 6, issue 4 p.391–411, 1979
  7. Jhingran, V.G., Introduction to aquaculture. 1987, United Nations Development Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research.
  8. Milner, James W. (1874). "The Progress of Fish-culture in the United States". United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries Report of the Commissioner for 1872 and 1873. 535 – 544 [1]
  9. Peter Neushul, Seaweed for War: California's World War I kelp industry, Technology and Culture 30 (July 1989), 561-583.
  10. "'FAO: 'Fish farming is the way forward.'(Big Picture)(Food and Agriculture Administration's 'State of Fisheries and Aquaculture' report)." The Ecologist 39.4 (2009): 8-9. Gale Expanded Academic ASAP. Web. 1 October 2009. <http://find.galegroup.com/gtx/start.do?prodId=EAIM.>.
  11. "The Case for Fish and Oyster Farming," Carl Marziali, University of Southern California Trojan Family Magazine, May 17, 2009.
  12. FAO (2006) The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOPHIA)
  13. $86 thousand million
  14. Washington Post: "Company says FDA is nearing decision on genetically engineered Atlantic salmon" by Les Blumenthal, August 2, 2010
  15. Chopin T, Buschmann AH, Halling C, Troell M, Kautsky N, Neori A, Kraemer GP, Zertuche-Gonzalez JA, Yarish C and Neefus C. 2001. Integrating seaweeds into marine aquaculture systems: a key toward sustainability. Journal of Phycology 37: 975-986.
  16. Neori A, Chopin T, Troell M, Buschmann AH, Kraemer GP, Halling C, Shpigel M and Yarish C. 2004. Integrated aquaculture: rationale, evolution and state of the art emphasizing seaweed biofiltration in modern mariculture. Aquaculture 231: 361-391.
  17. Diamond, Jared. Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed. Viking Press, 2005. pgs. 479-485
  18. Costa-Pierce, B.A., Author/Editor. 2002. Ecological Aquaculture. Blackwell Science, Oxford, UK.
  19. Thacker P, (June 2008) Fish Farms Harm Local Food Supply. Environmental Science and Technology. Volume 40, Issue 11, Pages 3445-3446 Retrieved from: http://0-pubs.acs.org.catalog.llu.edu/doi/pdf/10.1021/es0626988
  20. FAO: World Review of Fisheries and Aquaculture 2008: Highlights of Special Studies Rome.
  21. David Suzuki Foundation: Open-net-cage fish farming
  22. "'Aquaculture's growth continuing: improved management techniques can reduce environmental effects of the practice.(UPDATE)." Resource: Engineering & Technology for a Sustainable World 16.5 (2009): 20-22. Gale Expanded Academic ASAP. Web. 1 October 2009. <http://find.galegroup.com/gtx/start.do?prodId=EAIM.>.
  23. Hinrichsen D (1998) Coastal Waters of the World: Trends, Threats, and Strategies Island Press. ISBN 978-1-55963-383-3
  24. Meat and Fish AAAS Atlas of Population and Environment. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
  25. FAO: Cultured Aquatic Species Information Programme: Oncorhynchus kisutch (Walbaum, 1792) Rome. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
  26. 26.0 26.1 Template:Cite web

ReferencesEdit

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Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

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