Demand for salt water fish has increased over the years, in fact to the point that the ocean has become over-fished. Aquaculture systems have produced an industry that has come to the rescue for consumers that love seafood.
There are now ways to raise fish in fresh water environment as well has marine waters off the coast of many countries throughout the world. Not only is it a business for fish farming producing food, but it has also been used to restore masses of endangered aqautic animales.
Fish are commonly raised in ponds with aeration mechanisms and that increase production. More recently Aquaponic systems have become an industry equal to the aquaculture fish farming. Other methods use cages, container pens and recycling treated wastewater.
In the United States alone, coastal salt water aquaculture has generated a great number of marine species such as shrimp, oysters, clams, and other mollusks. There is a long list of fish as well that incudes Yellowtail, sea bass, salmon, and tuna. The industry is growing fast and currently almost half of the seafood consumed in the USA is farmed. It is predicted that by 2030 that will rise to 62%.
In fresh water environments, fish such as trout and catfish are raised for the market. As of 2011 China was responsible for nearly 95 % of fisheries production.
Hatcheries are the first stage in the aquaculture process. Monitoring and hatching of the eggs takes place here. The second stage is when they are sent to feed mills until they grow to fingerlings, the juvenille age. At this point, stage 3, they are moved to the containers and pens until they have matured.
The stage 4 is when they are harvested and processed for the market. That’s when you seafood lovers get your chance at purchasing your favorite fish.
Benefits of Aquaculture
When properly managed a RAS (Recirculating Aquaculture System) can produce large and healthy amounts of fish. This is an improved alternative to fish hatcheries that have limits as to how many you’re allowed to catch.
Aquaculture is also creating jobs in the thousands along with secondary servises. These jobs are mostly state and federal agencies that require advanced training.
The NOAA claims that aquaculture systems are of little danger to the environment.
Existing Problems With Aquaculture
Fresh water systems need to change the water periodically which is filthy with excrements and chemicals. The waste discharge is a danger to the nearby environment.
Aquaculture systems in marine water off the coasts raise fish that are congested and packed together in their pens. This type of environment is a menu for parasite and disease breakout. In some cases, the floor of the pens rest on many feet of ocean polution and the fish are subject to disease. This can be a danger to wild aquatic animals nearby, and pose health issues for people that consume them.