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Mariculture Mariculture or Aquaculture (marine agriculture)- farming finfish, shellfish and algae under favorable conditions One of every four fish eaten today was raised in either a fw or sw fish farm. Aquaculture also produces: Bait fish Ornamental or aquarium fish

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Mariculture or Aquaculture

(marine agriculture)- farming finfish, shellfish and algae under favorable conditions


Aquaculture also produces:

    • Bait fish
    • Ornamental or aquarium fish
    • Aquatic animals used to augment natural populations
    • Algae for chemical extraction
    • Pearl oysters


  • >2000 years ago in Egypt, Rome, China
  • <2000 years in Hawaii
  • 600 years ago France developed mussel aquaculture
  • 500 years ago Europe developed the idea of using pond fertilizer to promote plankton growth
  • 400 years ago China discovered that oysters would grow on bamboo stakes
  • 1960’s- Europe and U.S. catfish and salmon

Criteria for selecting species for farming:

- inexpensive to grow

- grows quickly

- resistant to disease and parasites


Hydroponics and Aquaponics:

  • True recycling systems that reuse their water and nutrients.
  • Ground water is not polluted. There is no nutrient runoff.
  • They use less than 1/10th the fertilizer of traditional agriculture, and 1/100th the water of traditional aquaculture.
  • These high-yielding systems outperform traditional agriculture by up to 30 to 1.


1. Aquaponics is a semi-closed loop ecosystem.

2. Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture (raising fish in a controlled environment) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil, providing the nutrients to the plants mixed into the water fed to the plants).

3. Aquaponics is a man-made version of Mother Nature's pond, stream, and field ecosystem.


The ammonia/nitrate cycle in an AN AQUAPONIC SYSTEM

  • fish produce ammonia
  • bacteria break the ammonia down to nitrates
  • plants feed on the nitrates to create fish food to start the cycle all over again.

Hydroponics System:

  • More complicated and efficient aquaponic system that uses the same basic concept as aquaponics, however,
  • they are more efficient at gathering the fish wastes
  • able to to handle separating the fish wastes into suspended versus dissolved solids
  • have more elaborate hydroponic systems for nitrate removal, and perhaps have other systems to maximize the growth of bacteria and removal of non-organic materials from the water
  • may contain automatic monitoring systems, backup pump systems, auto feeding systems for the fish and other systems to maximize the growth of the plants.

Nitrogen Cycle


Plants & Algae



Urine Waste (Ammonia)

Bacteria (Nitrobacter)

Bacteria (Nitrosomones)



Molokai: South CoastAs many as 60 ancient fish ponds dotted the shallow southern coast of Molokia. Most of these ponds are thought to date back to the 13th Century. They are a tribute to sophisticated aquaculture.  


The semi-circular walls of the ponds were made from lava boulders and coral which would keep the fish inside while allowing the sea water to ebb in and out. The fish from these ponds were only eaten by the royal Hawaiian chiefs.


There are five different types of Hawaiian fishponds:

  • loko kuapa- seawater pond
  • loko umeiki- seawater pond
  • loko pu’uone- freshwater pond
  • loko i’a kalo – freshwater pond
  • loko wai- brackish water pond

Types of fish raised in ponds:

    • ulua (trevally)
    • kumu (goatfish)
    • kahala (amberjack)
    • manini (convict tang)
    • palani (surgeon)
    • oio (bonefish)
    • uhu (parrotfish)
  • These fish were kept in a separate pond to breed and raised so they could easily be harvested by hand.

Useful Information:

    • The fish ponds are ancient, historical sites - DO NOT walk on the walls or move any of the stones