question: what is aquaculture and why is it important?

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations defines aquaculture as “the aquatic farming of marine creatures including fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and water plants.” This includes intervention in the rearing process to increase output by means such as predator removal, feeding and regular stocking. Output from these operations can be used for human consumption, ornamental species or as raw materials to be used by various industries. Aquaculture systems can be implemented in almost any aquatic environment. Farming efforts can be intensive, semi-intensive or extensive. Extensive efforts allow stocks to grow independently without additional inputs. Intensive and semi-intensive efforts are dependent on outside inputs.

Production in capture fisheries peaked in the 1980s helping aquaculture to become a booming business. In fact, the fish produced by aquaculture now accounts for 50% of all the fish produced in the world. New production systems are being built throughout the world and they are the fastest growing agriculture sector in the world. In Vietnam, for example, there has been nearly 50% increase in the last 5 years in hectares in aquaculture production and over 100% per year increase in tons produced every year for the last 16 years. In 2006 aquaculturists produced 51.7 metric tons of aquatic organisms.

Mansfield, B. (2011, March). Is Fish Health Food or Poison? Farmed Fish and the Material Production of Un/Healthy Nature. Antipode, pp. 413-434.
Welch, A., Hoenig, R., Stieglitz, J., Benetti, D., Tacon, A., Sims, N., & O’Hanlon, B. (2010, June). From Fishing to the Sustainable Farming of Carnivorous Marine Finfish. Reviews in Fisheries, pp. 235-247.