With the ever increasing growth in the population of the world comes the challenge of how to keep up with the demand for food, especially in the shadow of Third World poverty. The sea has always been a rich source of aquatic food for civilizations for several centuries, and both primitive cultures as well as the modern cultures have attempted the concept of harvesting the sea for more desirable varieties of seafood. From the humble inception of small fish ponds in China, that were developed as early as 475 B.C., to the technological wonders and auto-mechanical systems of the 20th century that operate massive fish tanks and floating "fish farms", aquaculture has been touted as the often controversial alternative to traditional, and industrial ocean fishing.
In recent years, aquaculture farming has grown to become a burgeoning aquatic enterprise, and it continues to expand in its struggle to keep up with the consumer demand for more delectable varieties of seafood.
Many proponents of aquaculture, namely economists and biologists, see it as a "mixed blessing" that has both the potential to support ocean fisheries without destroying the wild inhabitants, and still provide a substantial source of food to the saltwater and freshwater fish industries. For example, more than a quarter of the world's source of various fish and shellfish come directly as a result of aquaculture farming.
Negative Effects of Aquaculture on the Environment
Claims of long term damage to coastal ecosystems on North American coastlines have yet to be firmly corroborated by environmentalists and marine biologists, however, a study done by the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation states that, "the United States, Canada and Mexico are facing a looming "biodiversity crisis" in which a large number of terrestrial and aquatic species and whole ecosystems are in danger of...