Aquaculture

A rapidly growing sector of agriculture, aquaculture is expected to provide almost two-thirds of the fish intended for global consumption by 2030. Aquaculture involves the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of freshwater and marine species of fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants. Producers farm in all types of water environments, including ponds, rivers, lakes, oceans, and land-based, closed recirculating-water systems.

Importance of Aquaculture

Faced with a rapidly rising world population, scientists, farmers, and policymakers are seeking ways to meet future food demand. Interest in aquaculture production is on the rise because wild harvest of many seafood species is currently at or above maximum sustainable levels. Advancing the development of aquaculture presents one viable solution to this challenge, offering a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Meeting growing food needs
  • Providing consumers with high nutritional  content (especially protein and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids) content
  • Reducing waste because feed efficiency of fish and shellfish is better than any other animal
  • Integrating aquatic farms into the environment without harmful effects
  • Utilizing our nation’s agricultural and natural resources for food production

NIFA’s Impact

NIFA supports research and technology transfer programs to provide aquaculture professionals and consumers with necessary resources and information. Our initiatives support efforts such as:

  • Developing efficient, humane, and sustainable farms
  • Enhancing the efficiency of aquaculture operations
  • Strengthening resistance of fish to disease
  • Preserving wild fish populations
  • Implementing methods to enhance quality and ensure food safety
  • Adopting processes to improve production and increase profitability
  • Integrating aquaculture with traditional practices of land-based agriculture and natural resources management
  • Utilizing aquaculture science in STEM education
  • Providing alternative sources for bioenergy production that do not require the use of agricultural land that would be better utilized for food production
  • Providing alternative farming opportunities to our rural, urban, and coastal communities

Primary Point of Contact: Gene W. Kim