“Aquaculture” is not a term we often use, but it’s something we should be aware of, as it may be instrumental in improving the environment. Our world is rapidly pushing us to the point of adopting a new, sustainable food system and leaving the unhealthy junk food we so love behind. So what is aquaculture, and how does it affect our planet?
What Is Aquaculture?
Aquaculture is essentially ocean farming. It’s the act of farming aquatic animals and plants by breeding and harvesting them in various controlled water environments to produce food and commercial products and to sustain many of the Earth’s resources. Aquafarmers typically farm resources such as:
There are two types of ocean farming: freshwater and marine. Freshwater farming refers to producing species such as catfish, bass, and trout in rivers, lakes, and ponds. Marine farmers harvest species such as oysters, algae, and salmon from the ocean.
Whether aquaculture is 100 percent good or bad for the environment is a gray area. Ocean farming offers many advantages and disadvantages to the environment. Aquaculture produces food without contributing to overfished environments, which in turn decreases human consumption of fish in many water habitats. Ocean farming is also best known for its ability to rebuild endangered populations by recycling nutrients back into the environment.
But nutrients may not be the only thing being recycled. With the positive effects of aquaculture come negative ones as well. This type of farming may transfer diseases when farmers migrate fish to different environments. Additionally, ocean farming may harm the ecosystem due to potential ocean pollution, which may then make its way into our food.
Other Benefits of Aquaculture
We may also see immediate effects of aquaculture here on land. Ocean farming produces alternative foods in our generally unhealthy diets. Ocean foods are healthy for our bodies, as they provide many of the vitamins and nutrients we need. For example, aquaculture harvests algae such as seaweed and kelp are highly beneficial for our health. Algae is versatile, as it can be used in dishes such as salads, soups, sushi rolls, and more.
Now that you understand what aquaculture is and how it affects our planet, you may be more aware of where your food comes from and how you can do your part to live a more sustainable lifestyle.