Do Now U! Do the Benefits of Aquaculture Outweigh Its Negative Impacts?

NCSCE and KQED are partnering on Do Now U, a project that engages undergraduate students in online discussion through social media about current scientific issues.

This week’s Do Now U asks, “Do the Benefits of Aquaculture Outweigh Its Negative Impacts?”

The post, written by Ben Lokken, Anna Herff, Sara Wolf, Tim Jenkins, students in Juk Bhattacharyya and Susan Huss-Ledermans Environmental Geology class at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, asks readers if the benefits of aquaculture outweigh the negative impacts.

In 2014, 44.1 percent of total fish production worldwide came from aquaculture. Aquaculture could lessen the need for finding and catching wild fish for food or ornamental purposes (i.e. aquariums) and also be a more efficient way to harvest underwater plants for uses in pharmaceuticals, nutritional supplements and other products. Fish farms can impact wild fish populations negatively by transferring disease and parasites to migrating fish. Aquaculture can also pollute water systems with excess nutrients and fecal matter due to the large numbers and concentrations of farmed fish.

What do you think? Is aquaculture a good alternative to wild harvesting of fish and shellfish? Are the benefits of using aquaculture worth the negative effects on ecosystems?

Join the Conversation!

Engage your students in the conversation about the benefits and drawbacks of aquaculture. Students can share their thoughts directly in the post’s comment section, or post their thoughts on Twitter by using the hashtag #DoNowUFishFarm. Explore previous Do Now U posts to spark dialogue among your students.

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