It can be easy to assume the fish you eat was fished, but increasingly the fish on your plate was farmed. Fish farming, also termed aquaculture, is the activity of raising marine life in enclosures, primarily for use as food.
Fish farming is a growth area attracting people to work as farm managers, marine biologists, divers and highly skilled operatives who can detect changes in fish and shellfish behaviour and respond appropriately. There is consensus that aquaculture will be the main provider of fish and seafood in the future.
In Ireland a number of aquatic life forms are farmed, including shellfish, seaweed and fish such as salmon, cod and trout. Ireland has one of the larger aquaculture sectors in the EU, providing a growing number of jobs, especially in coastal areas that previously depended on fishing.
Fish farms require the collaboration of different professions to function at their best, including farm managers, marine biologists and divers who all perform vital functions. Even general staff will be highly skilled at maintaining the farms environment and observing the behaviour of the fish and shellfish and taking appropriate action.
Two major challenges for fish farmers is looking out for the health of the farm, as diseases can spread quickly and farmed fish need to be kept contained within the farm.