Have you heard of aquaculture? Do you know what it is? Aquaculture, sometimes called fish farming, refers to breeding and harvesting plants and animals in all types of water, including oceans, ponds, rivers and lakes. All types of freshwater and marine species of fish and plants are “farmed” to produce fish for food, bait fish, fish eggs, ornamental fish, algae and more.
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Aquaculture includes many different sectors. It includes production of seafood from hatchery fish, which are fish that have spent some of their lifetime in artificial environments, grown to market size. There is also stock restoration, when hatchery fish and shellfish are released back into the wild to rebuild a population. There’s also the production of ornamental fish for aquariums as well as growing plants for food, nutrition, biotechnology or pharmaceutical use.
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Freshwater aquaculture produces species that are native to rivers, lakes and streams. In the U.S., this category is primarily dominated by catfish farming, but also includes trout, bass and tilapia. It normally takes places in ponds and man-made systems, used for recirculating the system. In recent years, freshwater aquaculture has become a major component to agriculture industries in the southern states, helping to boost their state economies.