Water is the essential resource of the world, and more than 70% of the earth’s surface is covered with water. Water has been used for several purposes for centuries, and still, now, water is used for many purposes, from drinking to agriculture to hydroelectricity.
What is Aquaculture?
One of the recent uses of water is in the form of ‘Aquaculture’, which is defined as the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of aquatic life that includes both animals and plants in a controlled aquatic setting. Different resources of water such as rivers, oceans, seas, ponds, and streams can be used as a controlled environment. Agriculture is conventional farming that is done on land where seeds are sowed in fertile soil and watered until a crop is formed. Aquaculture, on the other hand, is farming done in water
Aquaculture, also known as ‘aquafarming’, has picked up steam in recent years and has served many crucial purposes, from food production to enhancing aquatic wildlife, replenishing wild stocks, habitat restoration, and restoring endangered aquatic species.
Aquaculture works by making use of both saltwater and freshwater as the provision of a controlled setting. Mariculture is one of the types of aquaculture performed in marine habitats. The different types of aquaculture depend on
- Hydrobiological features
- The purpose of the farming or breeding
- Use of the special operational technique
Different Types of Aquaculture
The two main types of aquaculture include mariculture and freshwater or fish farming. In many countries, the focus is on marine aquaculture, which produces different aquatic species such as oysters, seaweeds, shrimp, and fish such as salmon, sablefish, yellowtail, and bass. The popular types of aquaculture services include
Mariculture or marine aquaculture is one that involves the use of seawater. The controlled environment can be set next to an ocean or a dedicated area in ponds containing seawater. The type of wildlife breed ranges from seafood to mollusks, some of the examples are prawn and seaweed, which is a plant. However, growing plants can be complicated.
The animal species and plants grown in mariculture serve many purposes, such as cosmetics and jewelry. Collagen is used to make cosmetic creams, whereas pearls from mollusks make different jewelry items.
- Fish Farming
Freshwater or fish farming is the most common type of aquaculture, and it involves the breeding of fish mostly in freshwater but selective breeding may also be done in seawater. The purpose of fish farming is to use fish for food consumption.
Fish provides protein, which is one of the most necessary components of maintaining a healthy life. Fish meat and oil are used to prevent different chronic ailments such as heart diseases. Fish farming is also comparatively easier to do as fish naturally grow in freshwater and seawater. Fish farming is also the least care-intensive, and only proper temperature and food requirement is needed. For cattle or any other livestock breeding, a proper area is needed, but fish breeding can easily be done in a small pond.
- Inland Pond culture
The pond culture from the name involves artificial ponds that are connected to an aeration system. The ponds are about 20 acres in size and almost 6 to 8 feet. The inland ponds help to increase oxygen levels and minimize the formation of ice in the winter season. In many developed countries such as China, more than 70% of freshwater fish are farmed in artificial ponds.
Algae is a type of microorganism that serves an important purpose, particularly in ponds. Algae help to reduce the toxic levels of nitrogen in ponds. Algae is quite beneficial for aquatic growth, and Algaculture involves the growth of algae that share plant and animal characteristics. Algae contain chloroplast that helps them to play a part in photosynthesis and also appear green. There has been a lot of research on algae, and it is also used as an energy resource.
The Benefits of Aquaculture
Due to the widespread availability of water worldwide, aquaculture can easily be managed in the ocean, seas, freshwater rivers and ponds, and streams. It is very likely that the fish you may buy from a local grocery store may be farmed and a result of aquaculture. The aquaculture starts with the hatching of eggs and ends with the seafood at the grocery store.
The first stage is where fish breeding takes place, and the second stage is transferring the mature fish to the farm. In the third stage, the fish is grown by supplying them with specific feed, and then the fish is transported to local grocery or retail stores. The demand for seafood is increasing ever since people got to know the medical benefits of seafood. The oceans can produce only a set number of fish, and to meet the demand, there is a significant need for fish farming.
The benefits of aquaculture are
- Food source
Seafood has always been a prime source of nutrition and even included in a healthy diet. Apart from nutritional value, seafood is known for omega-3 fatty acids, which are highly beneficial for the overall health of a person in reducing cholesterol levels.
- Fuel source
Algae has quickly become one of the newest alternatives to fossil fuels and can easily be used as an alternative fuel source. Lipids are produced from algae, which can be harvested and then used as a fuel source, and its by-product is water and not exhaust fumes that impact the environment. The research and development of algae are still ongoing, and it can reduce the need to drill fossil fuel and also reduce the cost of energy.
- Meet the growing seafood demand
Seafood is consumed quite extensively throughout the world, and there is always a deficit in demand for nutritional fish. Aquaculture can help to produce fish in large numbers and also economically. The transport cost can also be reduced.
- Low environmental impact
Aquaculture is a few of the methods that do not result in any negative impact on the environment. On the other hand, aquaculture can help to increase oxygen levels and help to regulate the environment. If the ponds and lake are supplied with clean water, then it would result in healthier fish. The modern bio-systems and quality inspectors ensure that all the fish farms comply with environmental laws.
Aquaculture is the future of fish farming and adds another dimension to seafood availability at a low cost. The aquaculture systems make use of stormwater and runoff water, which reduces the burden of using other sources of water. According to studies, aquaculture already constitutes 13% of fish production across the world.