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Blue Revolution (Aquaculture)

Environmental Impacts Of Aquaculture

Aquaculture provides many benefits to people, mostly through access to a large production of nutritious, high-quality foods. However, as with terrestrial agriculture, there are adverse environmental impacts of aquaculture.

The most important effects are ecological, and are associated with the conversion of natural ecosystems into intensively managed aquacultural ecosystems. For example, the conversion of tropical mangrove forest into aquacultural facilities for the raising of shrimp or prawns results in an extensive loss of natural habitat. This conversion has important consequences for native species, and it may damage offshore ecosystems through increased rates of siltation and pollution. In addition, aquaculture operations often degrade local water quality in various ways. Oxygen concentrations may be lowered to unacceptably small concentrations because of the consumption of this gas during the decomposition of waste feed and animal feces. Other impacts are associated with toxic chemicals that are applied to aquaculture cages in order to prevent them from being colonized or eaten by marine organisms. Local waters and species may also become contaminated with antibiotics and other medicines that may be used to keep animal crops healthy. In addition, non-native species may escape from aquaculture and establish themselves in new habitats, possibly competing with or degrading the habitat of native species.

These and other environmental effects of aquaculture are important considerations. They must be dealt with effectively if aquaculture is to be conducted as a sustainable enterprise, in the ecological sense.

See also Trout-perch.

Bill Freedman

Resources

Books

Brown, E.E. World Fish Farming: Cultivation and Economics. Westport, CT: AWI Pub. Co., 1983.

Egna, H.S., and C.E. Boyd, eds. Dynamics of Pond Aquaculture. New York: CRC Press, 1997.

Mc Larney, W. Freshwater Aquaculture: A Handbook for Small Scale Fish Culture in North America. Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1998.

Pillay, T.V.R. Aquaculture. Principles and Practices. Cambridge: Fishing News Books, The University Press, 1990.

Pillay, T.V.R. Aquaculture and the Environment. New York: J. Wiley & Sons, 1992.

Swift, D.R. Aquaculture Training Manual. Farnham, England: Fishing News Books Ltd., 1988.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Bilateral symmetry to Boolean algebraBlue Revolution (Aquaculture) - Aquaculture Production, Fish Farming, Invertebrate Culture, Environmental Impacts Of Aquaculture - Seaweed culture