What Is Aquaculture? Is It Safe to Eat the Fish?

Seafood is Health Food

Think of animal farming where people produce, raise, and care for aquatic animals in controlled environments such as tanks, ponds and offshore cages. Both freshwater and saltwater fish are grown in the United States for human food and to repopulate ponds, rivers, and streams and for the aquarium trade.

Finfish such as catfish, salmon, trout, and tilapia, and shellfish – oysters, clams and shrimp – are grown for human food and represent an important source of the world’s animal protein. Currently half of the fish consumed by people globally is derived from aquaculture.

In 2009, there were 9 commercial tilapia growout facilities in North Carolina, yielding 967 thousand pounds of tilapia at $2.19 per pound, or $2.143 million dollars to the state economy. Many of these fish are sold as fillets in local fish markets or sold to restaurants.

Fish, like other animals, can get sick. Bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses and poor water quality can cause disease. Fish producers and FDA/s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) work to ensure that safe and effective drugs are available to treat fish diseases and that treated food fish are safe for people and other animals to eat.

For more information on aquaculture and aquaculture drug basics, go to US FDA

Contributed by David Green

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