Fish farming is the practice of raising fish for human consumption in man-made ponds or tanks. This is also known as aquaculture and has become widespread worldwide in the last few decades. Like other types of aquaculture, fish farming offers a wealth of benefits that can help and protect the environment.
Supply and Demand
Fish farming can produce large quantities of fish based on demand. Fish caught from the wild may not produce enough product to meet consumer demand and at the same time maintain the balance of natural ecosystems. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that about 40 million tons of seafood will be needed to meet demand by 2030. Over the years, the ability of the oceans to produce enough fish has diminished, leaving aquaculture as the only way to keep up with this growing demand.
Fish farming can produce large quantities of fish based on demand.
Fish caught from the wild may not produce enough product to meet consumer demand and at the same time maintain the balance of natural ecosystems.
Protect natural ecosystems
Fish farming does not require large catches of wild fish. They can be kept in tanks until they are ready to be sold on the market, without the need to strip the entire ocean of fish, thus better protecting Marine ecosystems.
Many farm-raised fish are more nutritious than their wild Cousins. On farms, fish are often fed a variety of protein-and nutrient-rich foods and pellets, making them healthier than wild fish, which may have been exposed to dangerous chemicals or pesticides.
Since more than a billion people rely on fish as their main source of protein, most of them in developing countries, farming is often an attractive practice for them because it provides food and jobs. In fact, global fish exports now earn more money each year than any other food commodity, which means there is money to be made and jobs to be filled.
The method of raising fish
Fish farming ranges from “backyard” self-contained ponds to large industrial enterprises. Farming systems can be expressed in terms of input levels.
- In extensive fish farming, economic and labor input is usually very low. Natural food production plays a very important role and the productivity of this system is relatively low. Fertilizer can be used to increase fertility and thus fish production.
- Semi-intensive fish farming requires moderate levels of input and increases fish production through the use of fertilizers and/or supplemental feed. This means higher labor and feed costs, but higher fish production usually more than compensates.
- Intensive fish farming involves high levels of input, stocking ponds with as many fish as possible. Fish are fed supplemental diets, with natural food production playing a secondary role. In this system, difficult management problems (increased sensitivity to disease and dissolved oxygen shortages) may arise due to the high stocking density of fish.
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