What is a fish farm?
A fish farm is an aquaculture operation where fish are grown in a controlled water environment for commercial or recreational use. Aquaculture, a major global industry, is the growing of aquatic plants and animals for harvest. Fish aquaculture may take place in pens in rivers, lakes, streams and coastal areas or on land using man-made tanks or ponds. Fish commonly produced in fish farms are catfish, salmon, trout, tilapia, shrimp, oysters, clams, and crawfish.
Fish farms have several benefits, such as maintaining a steady supply of fish and reducing the need for imported seafood. But they can also have harmful environmental effects. Fish farms that use natural waterways can introduce non-native species to the surrounding environments. Coastal areas may be damaged when turned into new production sites. Diseases can spread from fish in the growing pens to wild fish. The waste from all the fish concentrated in one area can pollute the water and settle in sediments. Fish may be fed antibiotics to keep them healthy, but these drugs may leak into the marine environment causing toxic conditions for other species. Fish farms that use man-made structures may be cleaned with chlorine.
Both farmed and wild-caught fish, especially salmon, may contain traces of mercury or PCBs. Recent studies, however, conclude the health benefits of eating fish far outweigh any potential health risks from contaminants.
Web Links from MedlinePlus (National Library of Medicine)
Food Contamination and Poisoning
Aquaculture (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
Aquaculture Operations (Environmental Protection Agency)
Coastal Issues: Aquaculture (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
Fish for Tomorrow? (Ramsar Convention Secretariat)
US Seafood Market Shifts to Aquaculture (Dept. of Agriculture)
Chemicals and Fish Farms
Are these chemicals in MY environment?
Volatile Organic Compounds
Last Updated: October 22, 2008