aquaculture

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aquaculture,

the raising and harvesting of fresh- and saltwater plants and animals. The most economically important form of aquaculture is fish farming, an industry that accounts for an ever increasing share of world fisheries production. Formerly a business for small farms, it is now also pursued by large agribusinesses, and by the early 2000s it had become almost as significant a source of fish as the as wild fisheries.

Successful aquaculture takes into consideration the biology of the aquatic species (feeding, water flow and temperature needs, disease prevention) and engineering design (water source and water quality study, pond and tank containment systems, water filtration and aeration) as well as issues pertinent to any business. Common products of aquaculture are catfish, tilapia (St. Peter's fish), trout, crawfish, oysters, shrimp, and salmon, and tropical fish for aquariums. Caviar from farm-raised sturgeon is one of the more expensive and exotic aquacultural products. Some are raised in huge freshwater tanks or ponds; others require the running water of rivers or streams. Saltwater species are often raised in saltwater ponds, in enclosed bays, or in pens placed in coastal or deeper sea waters.

There are potential environmental problems associated with aquaculture. Most of the fish that are raised are genetically altered or hybridized for quick growth. If they escape into the wild, they compete against and can crowd out smaller or less voracious native fish. Confined fish can become a breeding ground for diseases or pests, which can be transmitted in some cases to wild fish; confinement also makes the fish more suspectible to attacks by some naturally occurring pests, such as some species of jellyfish, that would be less likely to trouble dispersed wild fish. In addition, the large amounts of water that are used in aquaculture become laden with fish feces and unconsumed food that, if not removed through treatment or used as agricultural fertilizer, can add injurious amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus to a river or stream when the water is returned to it. Development of improved recirculating-tank technologies, however, may lead to a reduction in such pollution threats, as well as the spread of aquaculture to areas where large volumes of water are not available in the environment (see also aquaponicsaquaponics,
the growing of plants and the raising of fish by combining aquaculture with the techniques of hydroponics, usually on a small scale. Water containing fish waste matter is used as the nutrient solution for the plants being raised; the plants help clean the water that
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).

The practice of aquaculture dates back to 1000 B.C. in China. It is growing worldwide, in part in response to overfishing and the deterioration of the world's fisheries and concerns about the effects of pollution on seafood. In the United States, aquaculture is also a response to the increased demand for fish and shellfish as a result of changes in the nation's eating habits.

Bibliography

See M. Landau, Introduction to Aquaculture (1992).

aquaculture

[′ak·wə‚kəl·chər]
(biology)
References in periodicals archive ?
Fishermen's Collective Marketing Act (similar to Capper-Volstead, but protects associations of aquacultural producers).
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The Caviar Creator Company focuses on the construction, financing and operation of aquacultural facilities, in addition to the production of sturgeon and caviar and their refinement into delicacies.
Many aquacultural products are relatively more expensive than competing protein products, such as poultry, although Harvey cautions that true price comparisons need to be on an edible weight basis.
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Tours and activities tentatively scheduled include an ecotour of a Florida ranch via a specially designed "range buggy," a technical tour of a food irradiation plant, a tropical aquacultural laboratory tour with a visit to a fish farm, a nurseries tour, tree farm tour, canoeing, a visit to the Lowry Park Zoo with a behind-the-scenes tour, a visit to Tarpon Springs which is known as the "sponge capital of the world," Florida winery, comedy club, an evening outing at Splitsville--a unique Tampa restaurant, and to round out this year's activities are tours of the cities of Tampa and St.
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Riley has worked in the university's aquacultural engineering program since 1985 tackling problems faced by the industry that produces seafood products for consumers.
With the exception of aquacultural enterprises, agricultural producers, farmers and ranchers are not eligible to apply to SBA, but nurseries are eligible to apply for EIDLs for losses caused by drought conditions.