Freshwater Fish Farming in the US and Canada

Freshwater fish farming is a form of aquaculture that can have many advantages in the United States and Canada. Also known as pisciculture, fish farming is a method of raising fish commercially in a tank, pond, or enclosure. These fish can be raised to serve a variety of purposes but are usually used as a food source in one way or another. Below, we’ll take a look at how this farming works in the US and Canada, what advantages it may have, what some of the most common farming methods are, and more.

Why is freshwater fish farming beneficial?

This form of aquatic agriculture is beneficial for a few main reasons.

Saves wild populations – Aquatic farming is a great way to use farm raised fish to supplement wild populations or otherwise protect and reduce instances of overfishing in wild fisheries and natural lakes.

Easily containable – Fish farms contain fish well and don’t have many risks when it comes to domestic animals interfering with local species.

Ecologically friendly – In many ways, this form of farming can be ecologically friendly. Many fish farms today utilize green practices that don’t have much of an impact on the environment. Very-high-intensity recycle aquaculture systems, for instance, reuse nearly 100% of the water that they use in their fish farms.

Economically viable – Freshwater aquaculture can be a lucrative industry that provides jobs for many people.

What species of fish are usually farmed in the US and Canada?

There are a wide variety of fish species that can be grown and thrive in freshwater fish farms and aquaculture facilities in the United States and Canada. The most commonly farm raised fish species are:

Grass carp
Silver carp
Black carp
Common carp
Nile tilapia
Crucian carp
Roho labeo
Wuchang beam
Amur catfish
Northern snakehead

Which methods of freshwater farming are most commonly used in North America?

There are a few main methods of aquatic farming that are utilized in the United States and Canada.

Cage Systems – These fish cages are generally placed in places like ponds, rivers, bayous, and lakes. They contain and protect fish in a natural environment until they can be harvested.

Copper-alloy Nets – Copper alloys have recently become a material used in modern aquaculture. This is because they are antimicrobial and safe for the fish in their marine environment. These alloy nets are used to contain fish that are farmed in a natural or a man-made water source.

Irrigation farms and ponds – Irrigation farms and ponds utilize ditches and other areas that collect water to farm fish. These ponds and ditches can be natural, though usually, they are man-made. They contain buried pipes with headers in most cases and are generally lined with bentonite clay. In small systems, the waste products of fish are used to fertilize fields and crops. In larger systems, these ponds can grow water plants and algae along with fish.

Integrated Recycling Systems – These systems aim to reduce the use of water in farms for financial and ecological reasons. They function in many different ways but generally will involve the purification of water in a greenhouse or hydroponic bed.

Classic farming of fry – This is a form of a flow-through system that involves sport fish like trout being raised to fry and then released into the wild and re-caught.

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