Domestic marine species on the increase

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
25 April 2007, at 1:00am

GERMANY - Common perception would let us believe that domestication of land animals has been very successful. However when compared to the rapid increase in the numbers of marine species becoming domesticated these perceptions may change.

Domestication has had higher success rates in the sea than it has on land species, says Dr Marianne Holmer, of the Institute of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, in a new research paper released in Science entitled ‘Rapid Domestication on Marine Species’.

The main reason is because suitable land mass reduces the geographical range of terrestrial domestication, unlike the marine environment which has few restrictions.

Pastures new
There are several other reasons for this contrast. Firstly, land domestication has drawn largely from mammals and birds, with few invertebrates (such as bees and snails). In contrast a diverse array of marine species – molluscs, crustaceans, vertebrates, echinoderms, jellyfish, worms have been domesticated. Many more wild marine species are also used for food - more than 3000 marine species compared to fewer than 200 land species - providing further scope for domestication and an explanation for the rapid increase in the number of aquatic species becoming domesticated today. Also livestock production has been restricted to a few regions while farming marine species covers a more global trend.

The rise of aquaculture
According to Prof. Duarte from the Spanish Council for Scientific Research “Aquaculture is now emerging as a revolution in food production of global importance to humanity”.

While most land species were domesticated earlier than aquatic species we are now witnessing a contemporary phenomenon, where marine species are rapidly becoming domesticated. Four hundred and thirty, 97% of the aquatic species presently in culture, have been domesticated since the start of the 20th century and in the last decade an estimated 106 species haven been domesticated.

Source: Innovation Report