Why do we need aquaculture?

  • The output from the world’s wild fisheries is steadily declining while the human population continues to grow. Aquaculture already supplies half of the seafood consumed by humans. The United Nations Food & Agriculture organization has forecasted that an additional 27 million tons of seafood will be required to maintain present levels of per capita consumption in 2030. Aquaculture is a much more resource efficient way to produce protein than raising beef, pork, or poultry.

What kind of feed is given to farmed fish?

  • Several different types of feed are given to farmed fish depending on the life stage of the fish. Fish feed uses many of the same ingredients that are used in the production of feed for domestic animals and are all natural products. Ingredients include oilseed, grain products, protein rich meals of animal origin, as well as fish and plant oils.

Does aquaculture cause water pollution?

  • Aquaculture is regulated under stringent federal laws as well as international regulations. Advanced harvest practices and containment systems have dramatically reduced the effect of aquaculture on the marine environment. Operating aquaculture sites at locations with constant flushing currents can further diminish water pollution and allows the marine ecosystem to clean the cages and their surrounding ecosystem much like it does for fish that mature in the wild.

Are antibiotics used in aquaculture?

  • As in other agricultural sectors, antibiotics can be used in fish to treat bacterial diseases. The use of antibiotics in aquaculture is much lower than in land-based animal farming, and is strictly regulated to ensure that the active compounds are gone before the fish are sold to consumers.

Is it safe to eat farmed fish?

  • Most forms of aquaculture are a healthy food choice with proven health benefits. Farmed seafood in fact has been found to have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than their wild counterparts. Aquaculture is heavily regulated throughout the entire farming process. Unlike seafood from capture fisheries, the feed inputs, health and habitat of farmed fish is constantly monitored.

Can aquaculture reduce hunger and improve livelihoods in developing countries?

  • Yes. For many developing countries fish are the dominant animal source protein accounting for more than 50%of the animal protein in the diet of 400 million people in Africa and South Asia. Fish provide both important protein and critical micronutrients that are especially important for vulnerable groups such as infants, pregnant women, and those living with disease. Increased investment and development into aquaculture will help meet the world’s future requirements in an ecologically sustainable way.