Fish and shellfish farming - also known as aquaculture - has become a primary way to ensure a steady supply of food for many parts of the world. Some species go directly to market; others are grown to survival size and placed in their natural environment in an effort to rebuild natural populations "in the wild".
Freshwater aquaculture focuses on fish such as catfish, trout, tilapia and bass and usually occurs in ponds or in man-made (recirculating) systems. Marine aquaculture focuses on shellfish (oysters, clams, shrimp, mussels), as well as on salmon and other species. Marine aquaculture can occur in the ocean (in cages) or in man-made, land-based (recirculating) systems.
While aquaculture is a critical link in food production, it has limits and it's also a controversial topic because of concern about how it might affect the environment.
NOAA's Fisheries Services recently established an Office of Aquaculture, which contains updated information on the topic, including Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). This site also contains videos about aquaculture - look for the one which features Bill Dewey of Taylor Shellfish Farms, who's been working with our researchers for years.
The World Wildlife Fund also has an excellent site, and explores the responsible practices that produce minimal impact to the environment. This site also offers a number of videos and photos. And the Monterey Bay Aquarium has additional information on aquaculture issues at their website.
The US Department of Agriculture hosts a website (Alternative Farming Systems Information Center) that provides additional information on the topic, with sections on aquaponics and hydroponics.
The Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association website has a number of excellent videos, as well as general information about the industry. If you want to learn how to shuck an oyster, check out their site.
There are also a number of papers produced by OSU researchers. A few are linked, below:
"Best Option for Oregon Offshore Aquaculture", interview with Chris Langdon, Molluscan Broodstock Program
"The Oyster Industry in Oregon: Its Challenges and Its Potential", a summary overview by Bruce Sorte, OSU Economist
"Offshore Aquaculture in the Pacific Northwest", white paper submitted following our forum, held in Newport