A Short History of Aquaculture Innovation

Jude Isabella and Shannon Hunt, Hakai Magazine Fisheries & Aquaculture

A Short History of Aquaculture Innovation
Anne Nygård on Unsplash

Humans have manipulated marine and freshwater habitats for millennia. Early Indigenous peoples around the world showed ingenuity and an acute awareness of how ecosystems worked as they found ways to encourage more bountiful harvests of all kinds of aquatic life. But we’ve taken a sharp turn away from the simple elegance of a clam garden or a fish trap and veered toward industrial mechanisms for domesticating aquatic species.

Farming fish and shellfish dates to ancient China, Egypt, and Rome, but the pace of innovation—especially when it comes to raising marine species—accelerated in the last century with modern technologies. Today, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) says aquaculture is growing faster than other major food-production sectors.

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