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Overview Of Sustainable Aquaculture Essay

2026 words - 8 pages

The people of the world are demanding more fish every year. Creating a huge opportunity for profits when that demand is filled. However, current fisheries alone cannot sustain this demand, aquaculture must be present to alleviate strain on our world's fisheries. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2012) in 2006 the world produced 137.3 million tons of fish, 47.3 million tons of this was produced with aquaculture . By 2010 the total production of fish was 148.5 million tons, and total aquaculture production was 59.9 million tons. While total capture production has remained almost constant from 2006 to 2010, aquaculture production has steadily increased and is projected to continue to increase (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 2012). However, traditional flow-through aquaculture systems (FTS) come with a host of ecological problems. While some of these problems are fixable I believe the future of aquaculture lies in Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS). I intend to find out whether RAS is more environmentally sustainable than flow-through aquaculture systems. Also can new technologies correct problems with current RAS facilities making them more environmentally sustainable.
FTS in the open ocean are inherently connected with the surrounding environment. The farmed fish are contained within nets, and water flows through those nets. Perhaps the biggest problem not only for flow-through systems, but also for RAS is what to feed the fish. Often times consumers demand higher trophic level fish. This means we must feed the fish protein, many times this protein comes from other fish in the form of fish meal and fish oil. The fish in the feed are often small and wild caught ( Ocean Conservancy 2011). The increase production of fish meal and fish oil is putting strain on both the wild fisheries and ecosystem. The stocks of these small fish are often poorly regulated and already exploited (Ocean Conservancy 2011). This disrupts the food chain and reduces the amount of food for other animals (Ocean Conservancy 2011). In FTS most of the uneaten food sinks to the sea floor below the cages, along with the waste from the fish after the food is eaten. This increases the levels of organic carbon and sulfides, reducing the biodiversity on the seafloor below the nets (Ocean Conservancy 2011). These ,however, are just the solids the more soluble wastes add both nitrogen and phosphorus the surrounding environment, occasionally this results in algae blooms (Ocean Conservancy 2011). This is but one way FTS pollute the environment.
Another way FTS create pollution is through escaped fish. Fish can escape in small amounts often due to human error, or in very large amounts through catastrophic events (Ocean Conservancy 2011). These fish have an impact on the environment regardless if they are indigenous or not. Exotic species may become established and out compete other fish in the local ecosystem for food...

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