Aquaculture Defined: Aquaculture, also known as aqua farming, is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and aquatic plants. Aquaculture involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions. Mariculture refers to aquaculture practiced in marine environments and in underwater habitats.

As you know, or maybe you don’t, Alabama is one of the leading states in aquaculture sales. Alabama ranks third nationally behind the states of Mississippi and Arkansas. The states of Louisiana and Florida are also in the top five, ranking fourth and fifth. There are 4,028 aquaculture farms in the U.S. Alabama has the fourth highest amount of farms in the U.S. with 215 farms. Alabama has about 25,000 water acres of fish farms, where commercial farmers produce 25 different aquatic species. Alabama’s most dominant species is farm raised catfish, in which Alabama ranks 2nd nationally in annual sales. In 2008, Alabama catfish sales totaled $93.3 million. Alabama’s three large-scale processors sell catfish to all 50 states, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Alabama is also home to the world’s largest catfish processing plant. Alabama produces about $98 million worth of catfish a year. Other species that Alabama aquaculture farmers raise are shrimp, tilapia, and crawfish. 

Thought to Ponder: Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana produce 95% of the catfish grown in the U.S. 

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