Aquaculture is mainly about increasing the production of fish through farming. Fish was a well-known source of iodine and protein which is popular to coastal regions. Aquaculture helped to extend the number of fish available to the market along with the places that it can reach. This was believed to exist way back the 5th century B.C. upon the writings of the early Chinese civilization. Aquaculture was growing to become popular and effective since technology have been increasing. There were two known types of aquaculture, the intensive and the extensive aquaculture.
Intensive aquaculture is briefly about the use of high and modern technology to aid in the production of fish. It is in this area of aquaculture that fishes are breed in a controlled environment thus a high specialization about the natural habitat and the ways in which the species to be breed was needed. It requires appropriate understanding on the oxygen level and the temperature that the fish would most likely need to be able to survive. It is also important to understand how to control the environment to promote the survival of the species and reduce diseases and death. Intensive aquaculture aims that a certain species or for a group of species to become available throughout the whole year. This is important because there are certain specie that migrates during certain period, others would have experienced early death or diseases which could reduce the usual supply of such species in the area.
Since intensive aquaculture provides almost a perfect environment for a certain species. It produces high yields or production. This had help in generating more income and supply for the market. Thus, intensive aquaculture is a great business opportunity.
Nonetheless, it has some environmental backlash. This includes the difficulty that was experienced in disposing effluent or the water that contains high percentage of both inorganic and organic nutrients. Improper disposal of this kind of solution might lead to eutrophication or what was termed as hypernutrification. As a result of this another innovation was produce which is a combination of intensive aquaculture and hydroponics called as aquaponics. This has somehow solved the problem that was presented by aquaculture alone. Hydroponics was the process in which plants are grown indoors and in a controlled environment which do not include soil.
Extensive aquaculture on the other hand, does not involved controlled environments since it only requires the natural habitat. In other words, it is fish breeding or farming using the natural environment. It is done through creation of fish pens on sea sides or other water bodies. In these natural habitats, the fish that would be subjected to farming was confined in a net or poles or stones.
Extensive Aquaculture depends on the environment in which the fish pens are. This means that when the surrounding environment develops a problem, the problem or changes would greatly affect the production of the fish pens. The environment and habitat of the fish or the species could vary and is unstable which may lead to diseases and death.
Although extensive aquaculture seems to be more environment friendly than its counterpart, it actually poses a greater threat to the environment since it destroys the natural habitat. It also increases competition for the limited resources available in the natural habitat when the fish manages to escaped most likely due to weather changes and destructive storms.
The differences in the type and magnitude of environmental impacts of each type of aquaculture lies predominantly on the process and the technology associated with each of them. While intensive aquaculture results to an indirect impact, extensive aquaculture creates a more direct and abrupt impact.
The Environmental Protection Authority or the EPA has been operating on conducting a strategic environmental impact assessment. Basically EPA would like to upheld sustainability, having both the capacity to consume resources while promoting environmental protection at the same time. In a coastal archipelago which includes a marine park where anchovies and bottom dwelling prize fish such as snapper thrives, it is important for the EPA to take note on how sustainability could be attain in the given situation and what are the issues that needs to be prioritize.
The first issue that should be look into is that concerning the amount or rate of environmental degradation that is present in the area. This is important since this would help determine how much is left in the area. The problem of environmental degradation sprung from the inability of industrialized and developing countries to balance their use of resources. More resources are used and the replacement of such resources takes so much time.
Another issue that must be look upon is the market that is present for the species that thrives in the area. Species that are of high market value should be studied to be able to protect its habitat and if possible to breed and farm them. This would increase commerce as well as the number of the species in the area.
Since anchovies are valuable for their meat, an exclusive aquaculture might help in the propagation of the species. However, such aquaculture activities must be done outside the marine parks in able to protect the natural habitat of the snapper.
With respect to the case of the snapper, it should undergo inclusive aquaculture since it is a bottom dweller and since it is a prize fish. It needs an appropriate habitat very similar to the marine park. It needs the appropriate amount of temperature and proper nutrients that could have been available only in certain parts of the archipelago and thus, a high technology and a controlled environment could be the answer to be able to increase the production of such prize fish.
In order to protect the environment, those who conduct intensive aquaculture should also set a program that involves hydroponics which could alleviate the problems of eutrophication and hypernutrification in the area. Those who are conducting exclusive aquaculture could create fish pens outside the marine parks. The EPA must provide specific provisions on the distance between the fish pens and the limitation in production per area.
To insure sustainability, the marine park must always be preserved and protected. Thus, fishing in such area must not be permitted. Aquaculture must be encouraged to promote the development of the fishing industry and increase the market.
The EPA must concentrate on how biodiversity could be protected and how sustainability could be achieved. Thus, it is important for the EPA to provide information on the importance of the marine parks and the necessity of aquaculture in the area. It is then also an obligation of EPA to ensure that those who practice aquaculture would not cause severe harm to the environment. Thus, they must regularly check whether their provisions regarding aquaculture were implemented.
The EPA must require Aquacultures to operate provided that they do not damage the Marine Park at all cost. Any damaged done on the Marine park because of aquaculture activities must be seen as a responsibility of the Aquaculturist. It would then be the aquaculturist who shall carry the burden of sustaining for the needs of the community.
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Pillay, T.V.R. (1992). Aquaculture and the environment. John Wiley and Sons, New York.
Baqrdach, J.E. (1997). Sustainable aquaculture. John Wiley and Sons, New York.