Eating Fish Can Be A Little Fishy


Country MoonGoing fishing is one of the most popular pastimes in America. Going past this fact, commercial fishing is a big industry in the United States. However,  more than likely, the fish you eat today will come from a fish farm. Fish farming is a form of aquaculture and it has stepped up to meet the demands of fish consumption. In 2006 the Americans ate an average of 16.5 pounds of fish per person.

Basically, fish farming is raising fish commercially in tanks or enclosures for human consumption. There are five typical methods of doing this. The first is the cage system where cages are placed in lakes, ponds and oceans. Referred to as offshore cultivation, this method artificially feeds and harvests the various species. The potential for fish to escape is the biggest concern for this type of operation.

Second is a unique system called the irrigation ditch or pond system. At a small level, fish are artificially fed and the waste that they produce is used to fertilize farmers’ fields. On a larger scale, mostly in ponds, the pond is self-sustaining as it grows plants and algae for fish food.

Composite fish culture allows local and imported fish species to co-exist in the same pond. Although the number varies, there are upwards of six species in one pond. In ecosystems like this it is especially important to make sure that the various species can co-exist and they do not compete for food.

Integrated recycling systems are the largest scale method of “pure” fish farming. Large plastic tanks are placed near greenhouse hydroponic beds. Water in the plastic tanks is circulated to the beds where fish waste goes to provide nutrients to the plant crops that are grown in the beds. The majority of plants grown in these beds are herbs like parsley and basil.

The fifth method of fish farming is classic fry farming, also known as “flow through systems.” Sport fish species are raised from eggs and then put in streams and released.

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