University of Gothenburg
Harvesting macroalgae.

What is aquaculture?

Aquaculture is a collective term for all farming of marine animals and plants. In addition to fish and shellfish, for example, algae farming also occurs. Fish are farmed for a variety of purposes. Food fish farming provides fish directly to consumers, while farming of way fish is done in order stock watercourses.

Today, most of the Swedish aquaculture occurs in sparsely populated areas. Aquaculture has been around for a long time. In Sweden, fish farming has been carried out for over a hundred years. Today there are fish farms in more than a hundred Swedish municipalities, both in freshwater and coastal areas.

Aquaculture is the part of the food sector that has grown fastest in recent years. Soon, every other food fish is farmed.

In western Sweden, aquaculture is a small but growing industry. Production of fish, shellfish and algae using aquaculture can make a powerful contribution to regional development. In addition, the need for food from sea and lakes are great. Sustainable aquaculture can thus contribute to a more sustainable resource utilisation of the natural stocks of fish and shellfish.

A crucial issue in the aquaculture sector today is its long-term sustainability. Over the last few decades, the negative environmental impact of aquaculture has diminished, although further development is required. Today, a number of projects are taking place using different types of aquaculture that have a positive impact on the environment. Farming of mussels, crayfish and oysters can create environmental benefits.

In order to create a sustainable and responsible aquaculture, the issue of knowledge and experience exchange is crucial. This applies between all actors in the sector, and it is important, in particular, that both producers and consumers gets readily available, up-to-date and accurate information.

Aquaculture has potential. It can be an effective way to exploit resources. The amount of food that can be produced per hectare is potentially very large.