Frequently Asked Questions
What is aquaculture?
Aquaculture is the practice of growing and harvesting aquatic animal and plant species. The definition of what exactly constitutes aquaculture is a bit loose, but even frogs and alligators are often classified as being a form of aquaculture. Aquaculture is practiced all over the world and takes many different forms. Ponds, raceways, cages, rafts, and tanks are all used to grow fish and shellfish both on land and in the open water.
What is a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS)?
RAS is defined as an aquaculture system that has a water exchange rate of 10% or less of the total system water volume per day. RAS comes in many shapes and sizes, all systems include basic components such as biofiltration, and their complexity depends on the goals of the system. Systems can be anything from a home aquarium to salmon hatcheries that annually produce millions of fry.
How do you farm fish?
Fish can be farmed using a variety of methods such as ponds, raceways, cages, and RAS. All of these methods have their inherent advantages and disadvantages. Cages are most often used in sheltered, nearshore areas in large bodies of water such as the ocean or large lakes. Ponds are frequently excavated to about two meters in depth in flat areas with clay soils that retain water. Raceways are constructed near a reliable constant supply of water that can be redirected to cascade through the raceways. RAS systems can be constructed nearly everywhere since they require less water and less space.
Can I make money with a fish farm?
Fish farming, as any form of farming, requires a lot of physical labor, attention to detail, and some upfront investment in equipment. The exact economics of any fish farm will depend on the product being grown, as this will determine the market price and the cost of production. Today many fish farms are operated on a large industrial scale that requires a significant upfront investment to get started. Certainly if you have access to this kind of capital, then fish farming can be a profitable endeavor. The market for seafood products is always growing and fresh products will always command a premium price at markets. Talk to other fish farmers or read more about the economics of RAS in the book to determine if you can make money with a fish farm.
Where can I learn more about aquaculture?
Check out the resources tab on this site, there you will find many helpful links to industry news, organizations, and job listings. Also check out the wikipedia pages for aquaculture and RAS, the citations at the bottom of those pages are rich with useful sources of information. Email me if you have additional questions or download a copy of the book to learn more about RAS.