Seafood Month: Aquaculture Allure

October 19, 2018

As we celebrate Seafood Month, learn more about the growing need for farmed seafood.

Aquaculture net pen

Did you know that seafood farming, if done responsibly as it is in the United States, is one of the most environmentally sustainable ways to produce protein?

750x500-aq-piro.jpg

Innovative site design and management ensure that this kampachi (Seriola rivoliana) farm off Kona is compatible with Hawaii's unique offshore environment.

750x500-seafood-plate-shutterstock.jpg

The human population is rising fast, but global abundance of wild fish is not.

On top of that, dietary guidelines call for Americans to eat more seafood. Where is all that seafood going to come from? 

Farmed seafood leaves a smaller carbon footprint than that of most farmed animals. We can grow a lot of fish in a small amount of space to increase our food supply and help satisfy consumer demand for locally grown food.

750x500-mussel-harvest.jpg

Mussel harvest in Shelton, Washington.

And seafood farming has come a long way in the past 30 years. Antibiotic use is nearly non-existent in U.S. seafood farms today. And we can now feed fish vegetarian diets, insects, or parts of fish we currently throw away.

longlines-mussel-aquaculture.jpg

Longlines are used for mussel aquaculture.

Farmed shellfish and seaweed improve water quality around them by filtering water and removing excess nitrogen. We can even selectively use aquaculture to help restore struggling species and habitats.

750x500-offshore-aq-rule.jpg

Divers around the open ocean aquaculture cage at the Cape Eleuthera Institute in the Bahamas. These cages are not currently used in the Gulf of Mexico, but represent one type of farming technology that could work in the region. Credit: Kelly Martin.

Growing more seafood at home can also reduce our reliance on imports, create jobs, and improve our domestic economy.

750x500-oysters-at-table.jpg
 

All important things to celebrate! So feel confident in your next selfie with a shellfish or other farmed American seafood and look up all the facts about U.S. seafood at FishWatch.gov  (also available on mobile devices). This website is a reliable source of up-to-date information about the most common types of wild-capture and farmed species eaten in the United States. 

Learn more about aquaculture from FishWatch

Learn more about National Seafood Month