The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), sees aquaculture as the only possible system for increasing the production of marine species addressed to human diet. According to the report, “Overview of food,” the agency, argues that “Aquaculture is the only way to address the future shortfall of fish.”
Given the current state of fish stocks, characterized by stabilizing or even declining catches recorded by traditional fishing, as well as the anthropic population growth and its consequent rise in demand for food, we face a major challenge reviewing the potential of the aquaculture sector.
Aquaculture is an activity notable for its diversity and appreciating this feature is essential to understand the critical issues affecting the future development. This must be taken into account when assessing the needs of all resources, the manner in which this industry can be developed independently of the fishing industry, the prospects that are offered to producers in all economic fields, or the opportunities to develop new markets.
Aquaculture farms involve the repetition of partial or total natural life cycle of those selected aquatic species. These practices are initiated from various stages of the life cycle depending on the type of specie. The farms are developed by monitoring bodies and the environment (aquatic environment).
To develop aquaculture of any of the potential organism with known technology, you need to have optimum temperatures, the best sites, water quality and flow, physical and chemical quality, which constitute the decisive parameters for the rising of selected species. To these factors must also be considered characteristics of each particular species. A factor of great importance in aquaculture is, for example, nutrition, in response to growth, and disease prevention.
Advantages of aquaculture
The activity has significant advantages respect to traditional fishing: the production is done in a controlled manner, obtaining higher quality products, with the possibility of partial harvests and therefore continuous arrival to the market, achieving a sustainable use and economically suitable for the producer.
Among the benefits provided by aquaculture, it can be mentioned that the facilities can be built on land unsuitable for agriculture, making productive use of marginal lands. Soil in mountainous areas, which are difficult to sow or erode easily, can be used for this.
Aquaculture products have high commercial value, so aquaculture can provide gains to a subsistence economy. Usually, farmers receive higher net incomes for fish than what they would receive for traditional crops.
The production costs of fish, chicken, beef and pork have been compared in several studies. The initial costs of building a farm fish are larger than those of a farm land animal. However, after the pond was built, the fish is more profitable to produce. A pond of 1 hectare can produce (depending on the species) 9,500 kilograms of fish a year, using plant and animal waste as cheap fertilizer. Livestock production under grazing in the same area would produce less than half that amount. If technology is applied in order to develop intensive farms, the production can reach 600.000 kilograms.
Aquaculture can be developed mainly through two alternatives:
• Installation of swimming pools in terrestrial areas, which as the only prerequisite should have easy access to water. If the area you wish to install meets the initial requirement, then there should be a study of it, to assess what will be the species that is best suited to the natural conditions, by this way the costs to implement technology for the care of the species are reduced. Each cage can produce 150.000 kg. a year, the volume of the cage is 9.000 m3
• Installation of farms in maritime surfaces or lakes: The system consists of a cage with a bag attached to a steel or plastic naval construction reinforced with glass fiber, as well as a controller that supplies food to the fish, the correct amount of food beyond time, time of day, etc.