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What is aquaculture?
Aquaculture is the farming of aquatic organisms like fish, shrimp, crabs, shellfish and aquatic plants. Aquaculture includes farming of both freshwater and marine organisms. In contrast to capture fisheries, in aquaculture there is human intervention to enhance the production and also there is ownership of the livestock under culture.
Traditionally aquaculture has been under practice in China (carp or Cyprinus carpio), Japan (seaweed), Australia (eels), ancient Egypt (tilapia), Rome and central Europe for more than 2000 years.
The aquaculture per capita supply has increased to more than 8 kg/year in the last five years. Asia–Pacific region accounts for nearly 90% of the production. China contributes to more than 60% of the world production in terms of quantity and more than 50% in terms of value.
Land for aquaculture
In regions where water and land is available, fish farming is a better choice than farming the land. Fish are an important source of high-protein, high-quality food. Compared to earning from land agriculture, monetary realization from fish farming is much higher. Aquaculture helps to maintain the long-term sustainability of wild capture fisheries and protect the environment.
Types of aquaculture
Aquaculture can be carried out in different water environments like freshwater, brackish water or marine water. Similarly it can be carried out in different climate zones. Specific aquatic organisms are available for aquaculture in particular special conditions.
The culture of organisms living in freshwater, is freshwater aquaculture. The culture of marine organisms is known as mariculture. The culture of organisms living in estuaries and backwaters is brackish water culture.
Aquaculture is not limited to pond culture and it includes culture technologies tuned to raceway, cement tank, cistern, pen, cage, raft and high-tech recirculating system cultures. Depending upon the financial inputs and availability of land and water,
This farming activity can be carried out in extensive, semi-intensive or intensive manner. Fish farming can be integrated with other farming activities to carry out fish-cum-duckery, fish-cum-poultry and fish-cum-agriculture farming.
Aquaculture is not an activity purely for producing food. There are many forms of this activity, the produce of which are sold to earn money to buy food. Ornamental aquarium fish farming, recreational fish farming, fish seed production and live feed production are good examples. Not only the rural farmer even corporate business have realized the huge potential in this type of farming.
Breeding and hatchery operations are done to produce quality fertilized eggs, larvae and hatchlings. Nursery activities are carried out to grow the larvae, juveniles or hatchlings into fingerlings or stocklings of stockable size for grow-out ponds. In grow-out ponds, feed and optimum environmental conditions are provided to get economically viable and profitable harvest.
Aquaculture is making an important contribution to the world protein food production. For meeting the future challenges and demands this sector has to continue intensification and diversification.
By using new culture species it has to further develop and modify aquaculture systems and practices.
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