Shark Bait Blog

Environment.. and Scuba Diving.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Aquaculture - Is it ecologically sound?

Image courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture

Unfortunately Aquaculture (with the possible exclusion of farmed oysters, clams and mussels) currently has a number of major ecological flaws:

Degradation of the environment -

Pollution of the environment -

Parasite and disease transfers from farmed to wild stock -

Probably the biggest problem of all; many aquaculture industries depend on an unsustainable harvesting of wild species to be processed into fish meal for the farmed species -

There is also the risk posed by the escape of proposed farmed GM transgenic stock into the wild-

However this does not mean that there is no potential to improve the sustainability and ecological footprint of aquaculture and such efforts will be extremely important to future food production. -


  • At Sunday, December 24, 2006, Blogger Pepijn said…

    That's a nice photo, where did you get it?

    Another problem with aquaculture -though minor compared to the fish feed one- is the culling of wild predatory species -seals, birds- which are attracted to the food-fest. This of course varies from country to country and among various types of mari / aqua culture.

  • At Tuesday, January 02, 2007, Blogger Lamna nasus said…

    Hi Pepijn,

    Apologies, I had forgotten to post a link (I will update the entry shortly). The photo comes from the Wikipedia entry on prawns.

    You are quite right to point out that aquaculture frequently brings natural predators into conflict with commercial interests.

    Another worrying development with Aquaculture in the Far East is the deliberate salination of rice farms by small farmers, who are led to believe they can make far more money from the prawn market than rice (but have none of the necessary expertise).
    Typically the inexperienced farmer pours all his savings into his new prawn farm but because of his lack of expertise fails to succesfully rear the crustacea (which typically all die of diseases caused by the intensive farming conditions).
    The farmer is soon bankrupted because having salinated his rice fields to raise prawns, the fields cannot be reverted to grow rice......
    Then a large aquaculture corporation buys his land for a pittance (and those of all the other smallholders who have made the same mistake) for prawn farming....


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