What is aquaculture?

Ag Zone, Science for Youth April 29, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF


Aquaculture facility in Leetown, WV (Image courtesy of USDA)                              Aquaculture facility in Leetown, WV (Image courtesy of USDA)                              

Aquaculture is the aquatic version of agriculture. There are currently more than 400 species of aquatic plants and animals used in the practice of aquaculture. These species are grown in ponds, tanks, raceways, cages, and even in the ocean itself. Most people think of aquaculture in terms of food, but aquaculture products are used in many different ways: 

  • culinary—catfish, salmon, oysters, shrimp, trout, seaweed
  • recreationalbass, bluegill, and trout stocked in lakes, rivers, and private ponds 
  • ornamental—tropical aquarium fish, water garden fish and plants, cultured pearls
  • medicinal—sponges, sea cucumbers, and various algae

For more information, see Freshwater Aquaculture.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.