Negative Effects of Aquaculture

What is it?

Aquaculture, which is also referred to as aqua farming, is the farming of aquatic animals such as fish or the cultivation of aquatic plants for food.

Where is it occurring?

Some types of aquaculture are practiced in the open ocean and in bays where products such as mussels, clams, oysters, salmon, flounder, and cobia are grown. Other aquaculture occurs in artificial earthen ponds, that are the primary source of farm-raised catfish, tilapia, bass, shrimp, craw fish, bait fish, and ornamental fish and plants.

When did this happen or start happening?

Aquaculture is believed to have first been practiced in China, where the common carp was raised with minimal intervention in earthen pools around 2000 BC. The first written record of aquaculture practices, a book called “The Classic of Fish Culture” by Chinese historian Fan Lai, dates to around 500 BC. Since then, the practice of aquaculture has spread from carp to all kinds of finfish and shellfish, from China to the rest of the world.

Who is involved?

The following government organizations are involved in aquaculture:


Refer to comments for a deeper explanation of this.

The general public is also involved because any one can easily start their own aquaculture company.

Why is this an issue?

Environmental: Refer to picture

Economically: In 2004, Chile’s nominal GNP was calculated in US$70 335, of which 3.18 percent correspond to the capture fisheries and aquaculture. The national GNP increased by 5.8 percent as compared to the immediately previous year. In 2004, the aquaculture sector generated US$1 581 million in exports, corresponding to 430 717 tonnes of products, mainly salmon (92.3 percent), Chilean and European mussels (2.5 percent), gracilaria (2.3 percent) and scallops (1.7 percent). Almost all of the aquaculture production is exported, mainly to the United States, Japan, and the European Union.

Socially: Seafood farming often employs a large number of workers on farms and in processing plants, potentially placing labor practices and worker rights under public scrutiny. Additionally, conflicts can arise among users of the shared coastal environment.


Aquaculture can be sustainable if it:

  • is continually moving towards plant-based feeds originating from sustainable agriculture;
  • does not use fishmeal or fish-oil-based feeds from unsustainable fisheries and does not represent a net loss in fish protein yield;
  • does not use wild-caught juveniles;
  • only cultivates species that are native in open water systems, and then only in bag nets, closed-wall sea-pens or equivalent systems (if there is cultivation of non-native species, it must be restricted to land-based tanks);
  • does not result in negative environmental impacts in terms of discharges and effluents to the surrounding areas;
  • does not result in negative effects to local wildlife (plants as well as animals) or represents a risk to local wild populations;
  • does not use genetically engineered fish or feed;
  • uses stocking densities that minimise the risk of disease outbreaks and transmission;
  • does not deplete local resources, for example, drinking water supplies and mangrove forests;
  • does not threaten human health;
  • supports the long-term economic and social well-being of local communities.

Comment Stream

2 years ago
2 years ago
0,. 'About U.S. Aquaculture | National Aquaculture Association'. N.p., 2015. Web. 4 June 2015.

2 years ago

Greenpeace International,. 'Sustainable Aquaculture'. N.p., 2015. Web. 4 June 2015.

2 years ago

Talking Fish,. 'Did You Know All About Aquaculture'. N.p., 2015. Web. 4 June 2015.

2 years ago
0,. 'Aquaculture - Beachapedia'. N.p., 2015. Web. 4 June 2015.