What is Aquaculture?
Aquaculture is the cultivation of aquatic produce such as fishes and other aquatic animals. This concept of agriculture can also be explained as the controlled process of cultivating aquatic organisms, especially for human consumption.
Aquaculture as most people would reffer to it as fish farming, although this is correct but not completely correct. There is more to the practice of aquaculture, this will lead us into the branches of aquaculture.
Mariculture: is a farming of sea or marine organisms for food and other products such as food additives, jewelry, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and nutraceuticals (commonly used in marketing to describe any product derived from food sources that provide extra health benefits in addition to the basic nutritional value found in food such as dietary fibre, prebiotics, probiotics, polyunsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants and other different types of herbal or natural foods), either in the natural marine habitat or environment, or in marine or sea based enclosure, such as ponds and cages.
Fish farming: the most common type of aquaculture, it is also called Pisciculture which is the breeding of fishes in large quantity or for commercial purposes usually for food, in fish tanks or artificial enclosures such as fish ponds. Pisciculture or fish farming is highly exploited as it allows for the production of a cheap source of protein.
Fish farming is easier to do than other kinds of farming because fishes are not care – intensive , but only requiring their basic needs for survival (good water and food).
Algaculture: this is a type of aquaculture involving the cultivation of Algae. Algae is a simple, non – flowering, and aquatic plant.
Algae, singular alga, members of a group of predominantly aquai photosynthetic organisms of the kingdom protista in organism taxonomy (the study of scientific classification, systematics, orderly classification of plants and animals to their natural relationships). They lack true roots, leaves or stem but have chlorophyll and other pigments necessary for carrying out photosynthesis and reproduction can be asexual or sexual.
Why should Aquaculture be practiced? There are many reasons Aquaculture should be practiced which few will be mentioned and discussed in this article. These are the benefits of Aquaculture to everyday human life including its economic importance.
Aquaculture as a source of employment or increase jobs in the market
The practice of Aquaculture increases the chances and the numbers of job opportunities in the society. It creates job opportunities and new products as labor is highly required to monitor and maintain pools and harvest of organisms.
This is an added advantage for people in underdeveloped and developing countries, it can also serve as extra income or source of earnings to the partakers.
Aquaculture serves as alternative for source: tangible sources of protein are fishes and other sea foods. They give more nutritional value like the addition of natural oils into the diet like fatty acids and others. Foods from aquaculture also serves better for the blood to reduce cholesterol levels in humans as opposed to red meat.
Source of fuel: the production of lipids that can be burned as an alternative fuel source whose only by – product will be water when burnt if harvested. Algae are slowly being developed into alternative fuel sources by having them produce fuels that can replace fossil fuels.
Algae fuel is a cleaner and farmable source of energy which can be a breakthrough to the dependency of fossil fuel around the world.
Aquaculture helps the environment create a barrier against pollution: plants such as seaweed acts and helps sift the water that flows through them as brought in by the current and clean the water. This can create more pressure from government and individuals to protect their habitats.
Aquaculture reduces the pressure on organisms in the natural habitat in which prevents them for going out of extinction as they are used or consumed by man without replacement.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Aquaculture
The use of antibiotics
Alteration of the ecosystem
Use of growth hormones.
Products and services from Aquaculture.
Fish juveniles for restocking purposes
Alga cultures (is the culturing of Algae in ponds or other resources)
Live food (Rotifers: microscopic aquatic animals)
Transfer of mesocosm technology. This is an experimental tool that brings a small part of the natural environment under controlled conditions.