The broad term “aquaculture” refers to the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of animals and plants in all types of water environments including ponds, rivers, lakes, and the ocean.


Aquaculture is used for:

  1. Producing seafood for human consumption;

  2. Enhancing wild fish, shellfish, and plant stocks for harvest;

  3. Restoring threatened and endangered aquatic species;

  4. Rebuilding ecologically-important shellfish habitat;

  5. Producing nutritional and industrial compounds; and

  6. Providing fish for aquariums.

What is aquaculture?

Open sea cages

Since the mid-20th century, advances in technology have given rise to massive industrial fishing operations that can rapidly empty waters of species like bluefin tuna or Atlantic cod while satisfying an ever-increasing demand for seafood. UN-tracked fisheries have shown steady declines in catches since 1988—even as more fishers take to the water with ever more efficient gear. Some studies estimate that populations of large ocean fish are only 10 percent as big as their preindustrial levels. (National

Today's ocean managers are challenged to cooperate internationally and use scientific knowledge of fish stocks to replace loosely regulated fisheries with well-managed, sustainable resources. This can be accomplished by implementing tools such as marine reserves, protected areas, and strict catch limits. (National

Experts at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization say we will need another 40 million tons of seafood worldwide per year by 2030, just to meet current consumption rates. Wild-caught fisheries cannot produce the required volumes for the world's growing population and aquaculture is a sustainable alternative for fish production.

Why do we need aquaculture?

General Aquaculture Information & Videos 

Broodstock are sexually-mature individuals who are used for production of eggs for aquaculture. A broodstock facility is where sexually-mature fish from the local waters will be caught and kept in a land-based building to lay eggs which will be fertilised and harvested. 


What is a hatchery used for?

A hatchery is a mix of a laboratory and a farm, where fish are spawned (bred), then hatched and cared for. They remain at the hatchery until they are large enough to be transferred to ocean cages. Commercial fish farms require a steady, predictable source of juveniles from hatcheries in order to stay in operation and provide a consistent product.


What are farmed fish fed?

Farmed fish are fed diets specially designed for their nutritional needs.  This feed contains all the essential nutrients needed to keep them healthy and growing.  This feed usually is in the forms of dried pellets, similar in many ways to dry dog food.


Nutritionists who design feed for fish have to account for about 40 essential nutrients needed by the fish.  These include vitamins, minerals, amino acids (the building blocks of protein), and some fats.  These are provided in the feed through a number of ingredients including maize, soya, fishmeal, fish oil, plants, and animal trimmings. 

Ocean cages

Ocean cages are circular or square structure submerged in aquatic environments. Fish are transferred here from nurseries when they are strong enough to survive in ocean environments.


Careful protocols and monitoring help to minimize potential interactions with the environment. Fish grown here until are suitable market size. There are various types of ocean cages; circular, square and submersible pod shape.

Please see the video for one such new technology, deep-sea-pod, being explored in Mexico.

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Interesting reading

There is a wealth of information available about aquaculture and the concerns  for sustainable, responsible farming. Please find some reading: