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NORTHEAESTERN REGIONAL AQUACULTURE CENTER
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ABOUT AQUACULTURE

What is aquaculture?

Aquaculture encompasses the breeding, nurturing, and harvesting of fish, shellfish, algae, and various other organisms across diverse water environments. 

Asthe demand for seafood rises, advancements in technology have facilitated the cultivation of food in coastal marine waters and the open ocean through aquaculture. This method not only produces food and commercial products but also contributes to habitat restoration, replenishment of wild stocks, and the recovery of threatened and endangered species.

 

Aquaculture encompasses two main types: marine and freshwater. NRAC, focusing primarily on marine aquaculture though does work in freshwater areas as well. These industries farm species native to oceans and estuaries. In the United States, marine aquaculture yields various species such as oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp, seaweeds, and finfish like salmon, black sea bass, sablefish, yellowtail, and pompano. Cultivation methods range from seeding shellfish on the seafloor to raising them in bottom or floating cages. Marine finfish farming typically occurs in net pens in water or land-based tanks. In contrast, freshwater aquaculture in the U.S. produces species like catfish and trout, mainly in ponds or other artificial systems.

In the northeastern region of the United States, aquaculture involves deliberate cultivation of aquatic animals and algae in various water bodies, including freshwater, brackish water, and seawater. Beyond large-scale commercial ventures, it plays a crucial role in enhancing wild stocks, conserving endangered species, and supporting subsistence needs. The management and control of growth environments in this region are tailored to meet the specific requirements of different species, showcasing a remarkable diversity compared to traditional terrestrial farming.

What benefits does aquaculture bring to the northeastern United States?

 

More than 50% of the world's seafood destined for human consumption originates from aquaculture. The burgeoning demand for seafood has driven the development of technologies enabling the cultivation of organisms in various water bodies, ranging from ponds, rivers, and estuaries to nearshore and offshore environments.

A United Nations study underscores the increasing significance of aquaculture in enhancing food security, nutrition, and economic growth, particularly in coastal and rural areas of the northeastern region. Some of the identified benefits of aquaculture here include:

  • Addressing the challenge of providing healthy, affordable seafood for a growing population.

  • Generating employment opportunities in economically disadvantaged communities.

  • Preserving the cultural and environmental traditions of indigenous communities with longstanding practices of subsistence aquaculture.

  • Facilitating the establishment of crucial local, regional, national, and international partnerships and collaborative stewardship efforts aimed at protecting oceans and seas, including the sharing of scientific research data, technologies, and resources.

  • Alleviating pressure on overexploited wild stocks by reducing demand.

  • Exploring the potential for biofuel production through algae farming.

  • Rehabilitating human-impacted aquatic systems by enhancing the populations of beneficial species, such as filter-feeding mollusks.

NRAC is committed to promoting an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable aquaculture industry. Their experts and partners conduct research to understand the environmental impacts of aquaculture and develop best management practices to mitigate negative effects.

HOW TO FARM A BETTER FISH

Read the recent article published in the National Geographic about aquaculture, and its impact on the future health of the world's population and our environment. 

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The Northeast region stands as the undisputed global leader in aquaculture innovation, driving industry growth to bolster economic vitality, all while steadfastly preserving aquatic ecosystems and championing conservation efforts for generations to come.




 

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