Aquaculture: A Growing Trend in Farming

January 21, 2019
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The pros and cons of investing in aquaculture: the farming of fish.

Aquaculture: A Growing Trend in Farming

While you might think of cows, chickens and goats when you think about a farm in the United States, there's another animal that farmers are flocking to help boost their business: fish. Aquaculture is fish farming where fish are raised in enclosures and sold to markets and restaurants across the country. Common fish raised include tuna, cod, trout, salmon and halibut, but the most common is the catfish.


In the past 30 years, aquaculture increased from 10 percent of production to 50 percent. That's due to consumption of fish increasing from 20 to 45 pounds consumed per capita. The demand is there and farmers are capitalizing on the boost in income they can receive from building a fish farm. If you're thinking of making the investment, there are pros and cons to think about.


The obvious pro is the income that is produced for farmers. If the operation is large enough, it also opens up job opportunities. Other pros to aquaculture are the flexibility to build a fish farm just about anywhere and the opportunity to have fresh water or salt water fish. Lastly, it helps keep up with the demand for fish protein by keeping a constant food supply available.


A fish farm keeps fish in crowded conditions, which can cause lesions, fin damage and other injuries. It can also be harmful to their health in other ways, due to water contamination, parasites and disease. In turn, using antibiotics to keep these diseases at bay can harm wildlife and humans who eat the fish. Another con is the effect it has on the environment, taking away a food source for wild fish needed for feeding other animals, including larger fish. That means a diminishing supply of fish in the wild.


If you decide you want to invest in a fish farm, there is plenty of room for expansion in the U.S., who is a smaller player globally, but expect a hefty start-up cost. If you're looking for more land to expand your farming operation, contact one of our farm land experts at United Country Real Estate. Call 800-999-1020 or visit to learn more.