Aquaculture

Aquaculture is a part of fisheries which is engaged in farming of aquatic organisms, including fish, molluscs, crabs and sea algae. The farming process involves a specific form of intervention (for example artificial spawn, fish feed, protection against predators) with the aim of production improvement. According to FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) data there are 567 marine and freshwater species farmed worldwide.

Nowadays, global aquaculture development is at its peak. Due to the growing demand for sea and freshwater food nutrients, and their limited natural resources, aquaculture is the fastest growing food production industry in the last couple of years with the average growth rate of 6-8% per year. Most of this growth is based on increased production in Asia (89% of the world's aquaculture production in 2010). On the global level aquaculture accounts for half of the world's food supply of aquatic organisms. Croatia has a long tradition in farming of aquatic organisms. Organized oysters farming in Mali Ston Bay was recorded in the 16th century. Croatia pioneered sea bass and sea bream farming. The first farming of bluefin tuna in floating cages in the Mediterranean started in the Adriatic and Croatia is still one of the leading countries regarding tuna farming. Today, sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), sea bream (Sparus aurata), tuna (Thunnus thunnus) and mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) are the most significant species in Croatian aquaculture which is developing intensively and has a constant increase in productivity and employment.

The influence of aquaculture on environment can be significant. Increased organic substances emission whose source is farmed organisms faeces, uneaten food, drugs and other substances used in farming, escape of allochthonous and potentially invasive species from farms and the risk of transmitting diseases between wild and farm-raised species can negatively affect the surrounding ecosystems. The prerequisite for sustainable aquaculture development is coordinated spatial planning and zoning of river basins and marine areas, as well as ensuring locations needed for farming and related infrastructure. Sustainable aquaculture relies on scientific researches and application of their results with the aim of improving farming technology which will reduce negative impact on the environment. Feeding management improvement, regulation of drug use amounts, modernisation, renovation of existing infrastructure are the factors needed to achieve environmentally, economically and socially sustainable aquaculture.