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Farm Animals - Fish

farming aquaculture waters farmed

Fish farming, or aquaculture, has been around for at least a millennium. Historians believe that the Chinese practiced aquaculture around 900 A.D. to raise fish for their emperor's dinner table. China is still a leading producer of farmed fish. Commercial aquaculture is also a big business in the United States. According to the Washington Post, the U.S. fish farming industry had $1 billion in sales during 2004. (Juliet Eilperin, "Fish Farming's Bounty Isn't without Barbs," January 24, 2005). Nearly all of the rainbow trout and catfish consumed in the United States come from farm operations. In addition to freshwater fish, saltwater fish are also raised in farm environments.

Fish farming is accomplished in one of two ways. Producers use netted enclosures in near-offshore ocean waters or they build separate enclosures inland. The second method is considered more environmentally friendly because the farmed fish and their waste are separated from fish living in natural waters. In-ocean farms occasionally lose fish to the surrounding waters, and environmentalists fear that these fish could spread diseases to their wild counterparts. In-ocean farms can also only be used for saltwater species, not freshwater. Fish farms typically keep as many fish as possible in the smallest amount of space possible. These confined operations can cause health problems, particularly sea lice infestation, in the farmed fish.

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