Aquaculture is now recognised as the fastest growth sector of agribusiness on a global scale with an annual increase in production amounting to around 8 per cent, with now accounts for about 50 per cent of total seafood production derived from various culture systems.
The economic value of aquaculture is over $250 billion and is a major contributor to socioeconomic development in the emerging nations and also a vital component of the fisheries policy of several countries in Asia, Europe, South America, Africa and the United States.
Mariculture includes the obvious traditional species such as Atlantic salmon and the European sea bass, but more recently exotic fish species such as barramundi, cobia, sea bream and tuna, are also being reared. Tropical freshwater fish species including carps, catfish and tilapia constitute a significant proportion of farmed fish with growing pressures on coastal and land base use globally. As well as fish, there is a major expansion of shrimp, molluscs and algae production sectors for direct consumption in the main seafood markets of the world.
This increasing production can place pressures on resources and space and as such there is a clear need to ensure increased productivity through sustainable approaches. Major factors impacting aquaculture sustainability include the selection of appropriate raw ingredients for use in aquafeeds, disease and the potential environmental impacts of aquaculture operations.