And On His Farm He Had Some Fish

Part B: Trends in Aquaculture

Aquaculture has been the fastest growing segment of food production in the world. Global aquaculture grew from a production of below 1 million metric tons in the early 1950s, to 110.1 million metric tons with an estimated value of over $243 billion in 2016.

1. Examine the table below, which shows the average annual growth rates of world aquaculture production for different species groups and aquaculture locations.


Checking In

Answer the following questions to check your understanding of the information provided in the table above.

  • Rank the species groups in order of average annual growth rate from greatest to least for the time period 1970-2016.
  • What two species had the fastest production growth rates from 2010-2016?


Aquaculture is currently responsible for just less than half of the fish consumed globally. When managed responsibly, aquaculture has the potential to help take some of the pressure off of capture fisheries and to provide employment and revenue for coastal communities. However, as aquaculture production continues to grow, so do concerns over aquaculture's impacts on the environment and wild fish species.

2. Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium's website on Fishing & Farming Methods. Scroll down the page, about two-thirds of the way to the bottom, and read the section titled Fish Farming (Aquaculture) to learn more about some different methods of fish farming. 

Checking In

Test your knowledge of fish farming methods.

  • What are the five major types of fish farming methods? What types of fish are raised in each type of facility?


3. Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium's website on Sustainable Solutions, and read the information on the seven FARMED tabs (Consider climate, Improve traceability, Limit wild fish use, Manage pollution, Preserve habitat, Management, and Prevent escapes) to learn more about the problems with aquaculture.

Stop and Think

2: How does aquaculture impact the environment and wild fish populations?

The biggest contributor to the growth rate of crustacean aquaculture comes from shrimp. Continue to Part C to learn how the rapid rise of shrimp farming has changed on Central American country.

Optional Extensions

Short Videos

Net Pens

Oysters & Commercial Aquaculture in CT

Building Good Mussels

Shellfish Aquaculture in Delaware

Oyster Farmers in Massachusetts

Protecting mangroves using old oyster shells

Vegetarian trout - altering diets in predator fish

Let Them Eat Flies

How fish farming is reducing its impact on the environment