Aquaculture can be defined as the cultivation of the natural produce of the water (as fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and aquatic plants). According to UN agencies, aquaculture is growing more rapidly than all other animal food producing sectors.
Aquaculture is being called the next agricultural revolution because of the great changes it is generating in the production of shellfish and finfish products. While aquaculture has been in practice for thousands of years, commercial development really took off in the 1980's due to demand. In the past 15 years, global fish farm production has more than doubled. Farmed fish accounted for 25% of all fish consumed in 2000, and it is predicted that by 2025 it will contribute 50% to global consumption of seafood.
- Also known as “Aquafarming”
- Farming implies some form of intervention in the rearing process to enhance production, such as regular stocking, feeding, protection from predators, etc.
- The reported output from global aquaculture operations would supply one half of the fish and shellfish that is directly consumed by humans.
- Farming of aquatic organisms for human consumption, for stocking sport fishing ponds and streams, for bait, for enhancing wild populations, and for backyard ponds and aquariums.
- Involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions
- Can be contrasted with commercial fishing, which is the harvesting of wild fish