What is Aquaculture?
Aquaculture is a regulated method of growing marine creatures for human food, and is similar to agriculture, but with fish instead of plants or animals. It is also known as seafood farming and can take place in any body of water - oceans, seas, rivers, and even on land in tanks, ponds.
How is Aquaculture practiced?
Aquaculture methods are different with different marine creatures. Usually, there are four stages of production, starting in aqua farms, ponds and ending at the seafood counter in retail stores, shops.
The first stage in the aquaculture factory is where the breeding of fish, hatching and rearing of fish takes place. Once the fish grow, they are shifted to a farm, where they grow to harvest size, eating specialized feed. The fish are then taken to a processing factory, where they are packaged and sent to wholesale, retail counters.
Over exploitation of our waters, rivers and oceans is increasing every year with the expanding population of the earth. The annual catch of seafood has peaked and the productivity is decreasing rapidly annually. The oceans can no longer fulfill the increasing demand for seafood and alternate sources of protein food have to be explored. Aquaculture is the best solution to bridge this supply gap of seafood and provide the future populations with eco-friendly and healthy protein food alternatives by cultivating fish, seafood in a sustainable and responsible manner.
It is the best sustainable protein food alternative as compared to other farmed proteins like chicken, mutton, beef, consuming the least resources and having the highest protein content. It also has the lowest feed conversion ratio when compared to other forms of protein and emits lesser amounts of greenhouse gases than other types of farming.
The world’s population is slated to reach 10 billion by 2050 and the demand for animal protein is also expected to increase by 52% to cater to the growing population. The role of aquaculture to feed this huge population with healthy protein alternatives is very crucial. It can provide a sustainable and healthy alternative to animal protein and supplement seafood caught in seas, oceans to increase the seafood supply throughout the world.
Therefore, Aquaculture can definitely improve the health of humans and our world when done in environment friendly and responsible ways taking into account the safety of seafood and the welfare of marine creatures involved in production.