Difference between aquaculture and mariculture
Aquaculture vs mariculture:
The surface of the earth is 70.9% covered in water which includes freshwater sources as well as saltwater resources such as oceans. These various bodies of water are populated with various types of plant and animals which are used for many purposes by the average human being. Aquaculture and mariculture are two such terms used for the art of cultivating aquatic products under controlled conditions and these two terms tend to get confused with each other quite a lot due to their many similarities. However, they need to be separately identified in order to identify the real nature of these industries.
Also known as aquafarming, aquaculture can be defined as the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants under controlled conditions. This method includes fish farming, shrimp farming, oyster farming, algaculture which is also known as seaweed farming and the cultivation of ornamental fish whereas aquaponics and Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture are two popular methods that are used often in this industry. Aquaculture endorses in both freshwater and salt water cultivation or aquatic organism and it is often contrasted with commercial fishing where it is the wild fish that are being caught.
Mariculture can be defined as the cultivation of marine organisms for various purposes under controlled conditions. This is often done in the open ocean or an enclosed section of the ocean while sometimes it is also executed in tanks, ponds or raceways that are filled with seawater. The cultivation of marine fish, such as finfish and shellfish such as prawns or oysters and seaweed is thus done in controlled environments such as in tanks filled with seawater. While food products are thus cultivated using this method, non food products such as fish meal, nutrient agar, pearls and etc are also being cultivated in mariculture.
What is the difference between mariculture and aquaculture?
While mariculture and acquaculture both refer to the cultivation of aquatic products in controlled environments, aquaculture refers to a much broader concept than mariculture. The difference between the two terms is that while aquaculture includes the cultivation of both freshwater and saltwater productions under controlled environments, mariculture is merely a part of aquaculture which refers to the cultivation of aquatic products in saltwater such as the open ocean, a surrounded patch of the ocean, tanks filled with saltwater and etc.
Aquaculture was first developed around 2500 BC in China which makes it the older of the two fields. It was using this method that the Chinese used to catch fish after river floods had subsided. It is also recorded that aquaculture was practiced around 1000 years ago in Hawaii where fishponds were built in order to cultivate fish. This method was then spread all over the world as it grew in popularity.
Mariculture on the other hand was introduced to the world in the 19th century. It was Kokichi Mikimoto of Japan who first discovered this method in 1896. And thus, he now holds a patent for this discovery.
The products that are cultivated in aquaculture and mariculture also vary largely. While some of the products that are cultivated in aquaculture can be named as barramundi, black Drum, bluegill, catfish, cobia, crappie, milkfish, perch reddrum, salmon, tilapia, carp, cod, trout, prawns and oysters, some of the mariculture products cultivated widely can be listed as grouper, seabass, snapper, pompano abalone and prawn.
However lucrative both these industries may prove to be, both aquaculture and mariculture have proved to have adverse effects of the environment. Some of the harmful effects of these artificial means of creating life have been observed as the disruption the tropic systems, degrading habitats and also the depletion of natural seed stock. However, due to the scarcity of freshwater resources, it is mariculture that is seen mostly all around the globe whereas aquaculture is rapidly degrading as a result of the scarcity of freshwater resources around the world.