And On His Farm He Had Some Fish


Aquaculture facility. Photo: José Aguilar Manjarrez, FAO.

Aquaculture can be traced back to ancient cultures. There are depictions of tilapia being fished out of tanks in Egypt as early as 2500 B.C.E. The earliest known written record of aquaculture techniques is attributed to Fan Li, of China, who in 475 B.C.E. described pond construction and growth characteristics of common carp.

Aquaculture has been the fastest-growing form of food production in the world. By 2016, nearly half of the seafood consumed in the world was farm raised. Aquaculture relieves pressure on dwindling wild seafood populations and creates sustainable food supplies. However, fish farms can also have negative impacts on the environment and wild fish populations.

In Part A of this investigation, you will examine U.S. and global aquaculture data from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) database. In Part B, you will examine trends in global aquaculture and learn about various fish farming methods and the environmental impacts associated with each of them. In Part C, you will use Google Earth to analyze satellite images showing how aquaculture drastically changed the coastline of Honduras over a very short period of time.

Aquaculture has economic, social, and environmental benefits. Globally, aquaculture is worth $244 billion and provides half of the fish people consume. Increased numbers of aquaculture facilities have resulted in an increase in job availability in coastal communities. Aquaculture can also help to decrease pressure on wild fisheries. But what kinds of impacts and drawbacks come with these benefits?

Keeping Track of What You Learn

Throughout these labs, you will find two kinds of questions.
  • Checking In questions are intended to keep you engaged and focused on key concepts and to allow you to periodically check if the material is making sense. These questions are often accompanied by hints or answers to let you know if you are on the right track.
  • Stop and Think questions are intended to help your teacher assess your understanding of the key concepts and skills you should be learning from the lab activities and readings.
Your teacher will let you know which answers you should record and turn in.