Aqua Farming: Methods, Impacts, and Future Prospects

Categories: Industry

Aqua farming is the rearing of aquatic animals in fresh or marine water in controlled or semi controlled conditions. There are many types of aqua farming like extensive and intensive aqua farming. Plus, there are many different types of farm structures such as open net pens or cages, ponds, raceways, recirculation systems and shellfish. These differs from commercial fishing which is harvesting of wild fish. Fish is a major source of protein for over one billion people in the world, especially in the developing countries.

Which makes fish farming a rapidly growing industry and profitable business. I believe depending on how it is approached aqua farming can help supply and demand, plus curb the over fishing of fish and other water animals.There are two types of aqua farming extensive farming and intensive farming.

Extensive farming is easier to set up and maintain with no need of advanced water control systems. Ocean water near the shore with tidal flushing are the places most suitable for extensive farming.

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However, there can be many risks with this type of farming method as it's reliant on nature. For example, the algae bloom can happen. Intensive agriculture encourages use of closed-loop systems. In these systems almost, all water is recycled and only five to ten percent of water is replaced each day. Plus being a closed- loop waste from the fish will not impact the surrounding environment. They also can stack shallow tanks which makes it particularly well suited to flat fish. The main downside is the complex recycling systems.

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There are five methods of aquaculture open net pens, ponds, raceways, recirculation systems and shellfish.

  1. Open net pens exist in offshore coastal areas or in lakes. These methods are considered harmful to the environment because the waste from the fish can pass into the surrounding.
  2. Ponds are bodies of water that enclose fish in a inland body of fresh or salt water. This method is best to raise shrimp, catfish and tilapia. After that, wastewater can be contained and treated however can still be leaked out into the environment.
  3. Raceways convert water from a stream or well to make it easily flows through channels that containing fish. Farmers usually diverting it back into a natural stream after treating the water and has a chance to spread disease.
  4. Recirculation systems raise fish in the tanks where the water is treated and recycled through this system. Finfish species like salmon can be raised in recirculation systems. Recirculation systems can address many environmental concerns. The costs of treatment for wastewater are expensive and rely a lot on electricity or other power sources.
  5. Shellfish culture means that shellfish such as clams can grow on beaches or hang them in water by ropes. Farmers use filter feeders and clean water to thrive. Filter feeders can filter excess nutrients out of the water but can still cause waste in high density areas with tidal flow

There are five species groups of aqua farming and they are finfish, shellfish, crustaceans, echinoderms and algae.

  1. Farming of finfish is considered the most common cause it can be raised in fist tanks. Tilapia is one of the most useful fish for sustainable farming since they are herbivores and there is no need to feed them large amounts of fish byproducts. In contrast salmon can be very high maintenance because for every pound of salmon they need to feed it two to five pounds of other fish.
  2. Abalone and oyster farming are the types of shellfish farming. Over-fishing have made farmed abalone supply the most abalone meat. Abalone farming was started in Japan and China back in the nineteen fifties. Since the mid nineteen nineties this industry has become very successful.
  3. Crustacean farming is shrimp and prawn farming. Pacific white shrimp and giant tiger prawn are roughly eighty percent of all farmed shrimp. These species farming is considered one of the most destructive types because of the large amount of mangrove forests that have been that have been converted to farming sites.
  4. Echinoderm farming includes sea cucumbers and sea urchins.
  5. Finally, algae, seaweeds are most farmed algae.Aqua farming has many benefits including economic and environmental conditions.

Aqua farming provides many jobs for the fishermen who may have lost their jobs as well as new recruits. The environmental benefits will also decrease the pressure on wild fisheries. Fisheries are considered by many to be unhealthy or unsustainable. The main negative impact is the pollution of inland and coastal waters. The feed used at farming sites many times leak into the natural water source and can disturb the balance of the ecosystem in that area. Second, with a combination of fish waste and the excess feed can cause an abundance of nutrients in the water sources which will create an algae boom. There is a large habitat destruction in mangrove forests.

Over four hundred thousand hectares of mangroves were converted into aqua farms for cultivating of shrimp within Asia. Aqua farming can be a great asset to the world if done correctly. There are many different types of farms each one with its own negative and positive point to it. Most aqua farming is dangerous to the environment and if it isn't it costs a large amount of money to set up and sustain. Many types of fish can be cultivated, everything from flatfish to mollusks and even algae. In my opinion it could lead to great advances for the culinary world because it can make cost effective good fish more readily available around the world. Plus, with over seventy percent of the worlds fish stock been exploited or depleted the world needs a new way to fish without harming the ecosystem. In the future if people are careful or develop new technology or techniques aqua farming can help many throughout the world.


Amazing Fish Farming Facts | WorldWide Aquaculture. (n.d.). Retrieved from Aquaculture And Fishing Industries Environmental Sciences. (n.d.).

Updated: Nov 30, 2023
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Aqua Farming: Methods, Impacts, and Future Prospects. (2019, Aug 20). Retrieved from

Aqua Farming: Methods, Impacts, and Future Prospects essay
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