Aquaculture's growth seen as continuing

Jan 02, 2009

Aquaculture production of seafood will probably remain the most rapidly increasing food production system worldwide through 2025, according to an assessment published in the January 2009 issue of BioScience. The assessment, by James S. Diana of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, notes that despite well-publicized concerns about some harmful effects of aquaculture, the technique may, when practiced well, be no more damaging to biodiversity than other food production systems. Moreover, it may be the only way to supply growing demand for seafood as the human population increases.

Diana notes that total production from capture fisheries has remained approximately constant for the past 20 years and may decline. Aquaculture, in contrast, has increased by 8.8 percent per year since 1985 and now accounts for about one-third of all aquatic harvest by weight. Finfish, mollusks, and crustaceans dominate aquaculture production; seafood exports generate more money for developing countries than meat, coffee, tea, bananas, and rice combined.

Among the most potentially harmful effects of aquaculture, according to Diana, are the escape of farmed species that then become invasive, pollution of local waters by effluent, especially from freshwater systems, and land-use change associated with shrimp aquaculture in particular. Increased demand for fish products for use in feed and transmission of disease from captive to wild stocks are also hazards.

Nonetheless, when carefully implemented, aquaculture can reduce pressure on overexploited wild stocks, enhance depleted stocks, and boost natural production of fishes as well as species diversity, according to Diana. Some harmful effects have diminished as management techniques have improved, and aquaculture has the potential to provide much-needed employment in developing countries. Diana points to the need for thorough life-cycle analyses to compare aquaculture with other food production systems. Such analyses are, however, only now being undertaken, and more comprehensive information is needed to guide the growth of this technique in sustainable ways.

Source: American Institute of Biological Sciences

Explore further: Wood bison make it to Alaska village; April release planned

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Killing fish egg fungus with a disinfectant

Feb 19, 2015

A product used as a disinfectant in agriculture, food preparation, and medical facilities also kills a fungus that causes the disease saprolegniasis on catfish eggs, and it has the potential to treat harmful ...

Recirculation technology improves smolt welfare

Jun 07, 2013

New knowledge is making land-based smolt production more efficient and improving fish welfare in the process. Recirculation technology is solving the problem of access to an adequate supply of fresh water ...

Is seaweed the future of biofuel?

Mar 05, 2012

As scientists continue the hunt for energy sources that are safer, cleaner alternatives to fossil fuel, an ever-increasing amount of valuable farmland is being used to produce bioethanol, a source of transportation fuel. ...

Recommended for you

Italian olive tree disease stumps EU

5 hours ago

EU member states are divided on how to stop the spread of a disease affecting olive trees in Italy that could result in around a million being cut down, officials said Friday.

China starts relocating endangered porpoises: Xinhua

11 hours ago

Chinese authorities on Friday began relocating the country's rare finless porpoise population in a bid to revive a species threatened by pollution, overfishing and heavy traffic in their Yangtze River habitat, ...

A long-standing mystery in membrane traffic solved

12 hours ago

In 2013, James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman, and Thomas C. Südhof won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries of molecular machineries for vesicle trafficking, a major transport ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.