Science & Technology in Action

12th Edition

Fish Farming and Aquaculture

BIM

Aquaculture, the husbandry of animals and plants in aquatic environments, is also an important industry. Ireland has an abundance of aquatic environments suitable for aquaculture ranging from its extensive and varied coastline, to its abundant inland waterways.
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Contains the full lesson along with a supporting toolkit, including teachers’ notes.

Lesson excerpt

What is aquaculture?
Agriculture, the husbandry of crops and animals on land, is Ireland’s largest industry and contributes very signifi cantly to the domestic and export markets.

Aquaculture, the husbandry of animals and plants in aquatic environments, is also an important industry. Ireland has an abundance of aquatic environments suitable for aquaculture ranging from its extensive and varied coastline, to its abundant inland waterways.

Distinction between fishing and aquaculture
Many people do not realise that there is a difference between fishing and aquaculture, so it is important to distinguish between them.
Fishing is the harvesting of already existing populations of fish and other aquatic animals. (Seaweed harvesting is a separate activity.)

Aquaculture is the purposeful cultivation and subsequent harvesting of both freshwater and marine aquatic plants and animals. The cultivation of marine animals is by far the most important sector of aquaculture.
 

Components of Aquaculture
The variety of organisms cultivated is extensive (mussels, oysters, scallops, clams, trout and salmon) and production can be divided into two main areas.

Hatcheries and nurseries are scattered around the country producing a variety of juvenile organisms which are reared until they are big enough to be sold on. These immature organisms are grown on licensed aquaculture farms, they are also used in some cases to stock fish ponds and rivers (rainbow trout); to restock wild populations (sea urchins and brown trout).This is an integral part of conservation.

Quiz questions

  1. Fishing is a form of aquaculture. false
  2. Aquaculture is worth over €100 million to the Irish economy each year. true
  3. Closed containment systems do more damage to the environment than open systems. false
  4. Parasites cause more problems in dense populations. true
  5. Invasive species displace native species. true
  6. The Pacific oyster can become an invasive species. true
  7. Sea horses are cultivated in Ireland. true
  8. Fish faeces are good for the sea bed and encourage plant growth. false
  9. Epizootics are thought to decrease wild populations of salmon and trout. true
  10. Interbreeding of escapes with wild populations increases the gene pool strength. false
  11. Most Irish aquaculture occurs on the western seaboard. true

Glossary of terms

agriculture
the science, art, and business of cultivating soil, producing crops, and raising livestock
added value
increasing the value of a crop by processing it in some way e.g. cooking and packaging
alien
a foreign species introduced into a country
aquaculture
the husbandry of animals and plants in an aquatic environment
benthic
relating to the sea floor
conservation
the act of preserving and renewing natural resources
containment system
method of stopping the fish escaping
echinoderms
animals with five-fold symmetry and spiny skin
ecosystem based management system
a system of growing a species that is designed not to upset the existing ecosystems
epizootics
mass fatal parasitic infections
eutrophication
the enrichment of natural waters by nutrients (nitrates and phosphates in particular) leading to excessive growth of algae and deoxygenation of water
exoskeleton
a firm outer covering
feral
not domesticated or cultivated, having escaped domestication and become wild
finfish
fish with fins
fishing
harvesting existing populations
gene pool strength
the variety of genes within a species
genetically modified
having had its genes changed by artificial means; genetically engineered
hatchery
a place where eggs are fertilised and the resulting offspring are grown
invasive
a non-native species that establishes and displaces native species
novel species
new species not normally found in an area