Mariculture is a specialized branch of aquaculture involving the cultivation of marine organisms for food and other products in the open ocean , an enclosed section of the ocean, or in tanks, ponds or raceways which are filled with seawater . An example of the lath is the farming of marine fish , Including finfish and shellfish like prawns , or oysters and seaweed in saltwater ponds. Non-food products produced by mariculture include: fish meal , nutrient agar ,jewelery (eg cultured pearls ), and cosmetics .



Main article: Algaculture


Similar to algae cultivation, shellfish can be farmed in multiple ways: on ropes, in bags or cages, or directly on the intertidal substrate. Shellfish mariculture does not require feed or fertilizer inputs, nor insecticides or antibiotics, making shellfish aquaculture (or ‘mariculture’) a self-supporting system. [1] Shellfish can also be used in multi-species cultivation techniques , where shellfish can be used to generate higher trophic level organisms.

Artificial reefs

After trials in 2012, [2] a commercial “sea ranch” was set up in Flinders Bay , Western Australia to raise abalone. The ranch is based on an artificial reef made up of 5000 (As of April 2016 ) separate concrete units called abitats (abalone habitats). The 900 kilograms (2,000 lbs) abitats can host 400 abalone each. The reef is seeded with young abalone from an onshore hatchery.

The abalone feed on seaweed that has grown naturally on the abitats; with the ecosystem enriching of the bay resulting from dhufish, pink snapper, wrasse, Samson fish among other species.

Brad Adams, from the company, has emphasized the similarity to wild abalone and the difference from shore based aquaculture. “We’re not aquaculture, we’re ranching, because they’re in the water they look after themselves.” [3] [4]

Open ocean

Raising marine organisms under controlled conditions in exposed, high-energy ocean environments beyond significant coastal influence, is a relatively new approach to mariculture. Open Ocean Aquaculture (OOA) uses cages, net, or long-line arrays that are moored, towed or float freely. Research and commercial open ocean aquaculture in Panama, Australia, Chile, China, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and Norway. As of 2004, two commercial open ocean facilities were operating in US waters, raising Threadfin near Hawaii and Cobia near Puerto Rico . An operation targeting bigeye tunarecently received final approval. All US commercial facilities are currently under jurisdiction. The largest deep water open ocean farm in the world is raising cobia 12 km off the northern coast of Panama in highly exposed sites. [5] [6]

Enhanced stocking

Enhanced Stocking (also known as sea ranching) is a Japanese principle based on the functioning of the migratory nature of certain species. The fishermen raise hatchlings in a harbor, listening to the song. When the fish are old enough they are freed from the net to mature in the open sea. During spawning season, about 80% of these fish return to their birthplace. The fishermen sound the horn and then those fish that respond. [7] [8] [9]

Seawater ponds

In seawater pond mariculture, fish are raised in ponds which receive water from the sea. This has the benefit that nutrition (eg microorganisms ) present in the seawater can be used. This is a great advantage over traditional fish farms (eg sweet water farms) for which the farmers buy feed (which is expensive). Other advantages are that water purification plants can be planted in the ponds to eliminate the buildup of nitrogen , from fecal and other contamination. Also, the ponds can be left unprotected from natural predators, providing another kind of filtering. [10]

Environmental effects

Mariculture HAS Rapidly expanded over last two decades due to new technology, improvements in Formulated feeds, Greater understanding of biological farmed species, water quality Increased Within closed farm systems, Greater demand for seafood products , website development and government interest. [11] [12] [13] As a result, mariculture has been subject to some controversy regarding its social and environmental impacts. [14] [15]Commonly identified environmental impacts from marine farms are:

  1. Wastes from cage cultures;
  2. Farm escapees and invasives;
  3. Genetic pollution and disease and parasite transfer;
  4. Habitat modification.

Aside from farming methods , the degree of environmental impact depends on the size of the farm, the type of feed, the density of feed, the hydrology of the site, and husbandry methods. [16] The adjacent diagram connects these causes and effects.

Wastes from cage cultures

Mariculture of finfish can require a significant amount of fishmeal or other high protein food sources. [15] Originally, a lot of fishmeal went to waste feeding rates and poor digestibility of formulated feeds which resulted in poor feed conversion ratios . [17]

In cage culture Several different methods are used for feeding farmed fish – from single hand feeding to sophisticated computer-controlled systems with automated food dispensers coupled with in situ uptake sensors detect That consumption rates. [18] In coastal fish farms, in-depth fish farms, in the presence of fish and other food products the surrounding catchment and local coastal environment. [15]This impact is usually highly local, and depends greatly on the settling velocity of waste feed and the current velocity (which varies both spatially and temporally) and depth. [15] [18]

Farm escapees and invasives

The impact of escapees from aquaculture operations depends is whether or not there are wild conspecifics or close relative in the receiving send environment, and whether or not the escapee is reproductively able. [18] Several different mitigation / prevention strategies are currently employed, from the development of infertile triploids to land-based farms which are completely isolated from any marine environment. [19] [20] [21] [22] Escapees can adversely affect local ecosystems through hybridizationand loss of genetic diversity in native stocks, negative interactions Increase Within an ecosystem (Such As predation and competition), disease transmission and exchange habitat (from trophic cascades and ecosystem shifts to varying, and sediment regimes THUS turbidity ).

The accidental introduction of invasive species is also of concern. Aquaculture is one of the main vectors for invasives following accidental releases of farmed stocks in the wild. [23] One example is the Siberian sturgeon ( Acipenser baerii ) which accidentally escaped from a fish farm in the Gironde Estuary (Southwest France) following a severe storm in December 1999 (5,000 individual fish escaped into the field ). [24] Molluscanfarming is one example of a species that can be introduced to new environments by ‘hitchhiking’ on farmed molluscs. Also, they may become dominant predators and / or competitors, as well as potentially spread pathogens and parasites. [23]

Genetic pollution, disease, and parasite transfer

One of the primary concerns with mariculture is the potential for disease and parasite transfer. Farmed stocks are often selectively bred to increase disease and parasite resistance, as well as improving growth rates and quality of products. [15] As a result, the genetic diversity Within reared stocks decreases with every generation – meaning They Can Potentially Reduce the genetic diversity Within wild populations If They escape into wild populations Those. [17] Such genetic pollutionfrom escaped aquaculture stocks can reduce the wild population’s ability to adjust to the changing environment. Also, maricultured species can harbor diseases and parasites (eg, lice) which can be introduced to wild populations upon their escape. An example of this is the parasitic sea ​​lice on the wild Atlantic salmon in Canada. [25] Also, non-indigenous species that are known to be susceptible to, or carry, particular diseases (which they picked up in their native habitats) which could be spread through wild populations if they escape into those wild populations. Such ‘new’ diseases would be devastating for those wild populations because they would have no immunity to them.

Habitat modification

With the exception of benthic habitats, most mariculture causes minimal destruction to habitats. However, the destruction of mangrove forests from the farming of shrimps is of concern. [15] [18] Globally, shrimp farming is a small contributor to the destruction of mangrove forests; however, locally it can be devastating. [15] [18] Mangrove forests Provide Rich dies qui supporting a great deal of biodiversity – predominately juvenile fish and crustaceans. [18] [26]Moreover, they act as buffering systems, they reduce coastal erosion, and improve water quality for in situ animals by processing materials and ‘filtering’ sediments. [18] [26] [27]


In addition, nitrogen and phosphorus compounds from food and waste May lead to blooms of phytoplankton , Whose subsequent degradation can DRASTICALLY Reduce oxygen levels. If the algae are toxic, fish are killed and shellfish contaminated. [19] [28] [29]


Mariculture development must be sustained by basic and applied research and development in major fields such as nutrition , genetics , system management, product handling, and socioeconomics . One approach is closed systems that have no direct interaction with the local environment. [30] However, investment and operational costs are more likely than open cages, limiting them to their current role as hatcheries. [19]


Sustainable mariculture promised economic and environmental benefits. Economies of scale imply that the ranching can produce fish at a lower cost than fishing, leading to better human diets and the gradual elimination of unsustainable fisheries. Maricultured fish are also perceived to be of higher quality than fish raised in ponds or tanks, and more varied choice of species. Consistent supply and quality control. [19] [28]

Species farmed

  • Seabass
  • Bigeye tuna
  • cobia
  • Group
  • Snapper
  • Pompano
  • Salmon
  • Pearlspot
  • Mullet
  • Pomfret
  • Barramundi [31]
Shellfish / Crustaceans
  • Abalone
  • Oysters
  • Prawn
  • Mussels
  • Seaweeds [5] [32]

Scientific literature

Scientific literature on mariculture can be found in the following journals:

  • Applied and Environmental Microbiology
  • fish farming
  • Aquaculture Research
  • Journal of Marine Science
  • Marine Resource Economics
  • Ocean Shoreline Management
  • Journal of Applied Phycology
  • Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
  • Journal of Phycology
  • Journal of Shellfish Research
  • Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries
  • Reviews in Fisheries Science

See also

  • fish farming
  • Fish farming
  • Hydroponics
  • Algaculture
  • Oyster farming
  • Aquaponics
  • Copper alloys in aquaculture
  • Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture
  • Saltwater aquaponics


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