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Aquaculture is sometimes called aquafarming. It involves the farming of fish, aquatic plants, Mollusca (clams), crustaceans (lobsters and shrimp), and many other freshwater and saltwater species. Populations of fish are raised under very controlled conditions verses commercial fishing, which is the catching of “wild” fish, plants, or other aquatic plants or animals.
There are benefits and concerns about aquaculture. One benefit is that it is extremely efficient. Aquacultures create a healthy habitat that is raising healthy fish populations. Aquafarming helps restock depleted or threatened populations of fish that may be considered endangered. Finally, there can be economic benefits to the individuals and communities where aquaculture is being done.
There are concerns about aquafarming too. One is controlling the waste from the fishing. The waste can be damaging to the surrounding ecosystems. Aquacultures can destroy habitat and with all the fish in close proximity, it is really easy to transfer a disease from fish to fish. Finally, if farm raised fish escape into the wild, they can change the genetics of the wild fish. Aquaculture fish are generally one genetic makeup and do not have any biodiversity. This means if the farm raised fish escape and breed with wild fish, the biodiversity of the wild fish will decrease.
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