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Mariculture is the cultivation of marine organisms in their natural habitats, usually for commercial purposes. Several species of marine fish, invertebrates such as shrimp and giant clams, and seaweed (algae) have been raised for the aquarium fish trade, the live reef food fish trade, and for other markets. However, the vast majority of mariculture operations are focused on raising marine species for food production. Mariculture provides local communities with an additional employment option as well as a supplement to local subsistence needs. Though mariculture has the potential to benefit communities by relieving some of the fishing pressure from local reefs, there are potential problems, such as pollution and the spread of disease from fish pens, that need to be considered.
Mariculture for the tiger prawn, Peneus monodon, occupies large areas of the coast. Location: Thuy Trieu Lagoon, Vietnam Photo by: J. Oliver (from ReefBase: http://www.reefbase.org)
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