Aquaculture is the farm-raising of fish, shellfish, and other aquatic animals, according to a new report, Aquaculture, from Research and Markets. Aquaculture farms raise animals in captivity, stock and feed animals, and protect stock from predators. Commercial fishing in natural aquatic habitats and seafood processing and distribution are covered in separate industry profiles.
Demand is driven primarily by domestic trends in fish consumption and competition from imports. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations and protecting fish stock from death and disease. Large companies have advantages in vertically integrating operations from breeding to processing and packaging. Small farms, typically those that are family-owned, can compete effectively by specialising in unusual and high-end products or offering on-site fee-fishing.
Aquaculture competes with US livestock, poultry and traditional fishing operations, as well as with foreign aquaculture and fishing operations that export to the US.
Products, operations and technology
Major products include catfish; molluscs, such as clams and oysters; and trout. Other products include freshwater shrimp, salmon, ornamental tropical fish, and bait fish. Some farms specialise in fee-fishing, allowing fishing enthusiasts to catch and pay for pond-caught fish.
Farm-raised catfish are grown in open freshwater production systems, typically earthen ponds fed by groundwater. Salmon are hatched in fresh water and transferred to saltwater pens for final grow-out.
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