Food from Water

As public oceans and rivers more and more double as toxic dumping grounds for every city or country that can get at them, regular commercial water creatures are ever riskier to eat. The so-called FDA seafood inspection program actually inspects only 1 lb. of fish for every 160,000 lb. we eat. And the FDA seal of approval is false security anyway because the FDA has toxic limits for only a dozen or so modern poisons—even though biochemists know there are hundreds that today's fish may carry. And as increasing numbers of the world's people chase fish, the supply grows ever shorter.

The answer is growing your own food from water—in water you know is pure, using food you know is safe to enter the food chain—or buying the equivalent. Growing food from water, or "aquaculture," has been part of family farming in many places around the world for centuries. But now small-scale fish farming is booming more than ever, and rightly so. You can grow more of this healthy, low-fat, heart-protecting protein in a smaller space than any other variety of animal on your homestead! Water farmers grow clams, mollusks, catfish, yellow perch, bluegills, bullheads, crayfish, bass, trout, carp, tilapia, mosquito fish, and others. They market them as human food, bait, or as stock for other people's food-growing or ornamental ponds or fish-bowls. As always, it's best to start small and get experience before you invest heavily.

Almost anybody can do some water farming. You can raise catfish in just a barrel! If you have as much as 10 acres and a water supply, you have room for several fish culture ponds. Fish can be part of the natural ecosystem on your homestead, with meat-eating fish eating discarded innards and algae-eaters profiting from pig and poultry manure used to fertilize the pond. Or you can feed them commercial fish feed made from residues of the agricultural industry. Or both.

Help for Sick Water Critters

Alabama Fish Farming Center; William Hemstreet, Fish Health Specialist; 334-624-4016; fax 334-624-4050; 529 Centreville St., Greensboro, AL 36744; whemstr Southeastern Coop. Fish Disease Lab; Dept. of Fish & Allied Aquacultures, Auburn U., Auburn, AL 36849; 334-844-4786. UAPB Cooperative Extension Program; Larry W. Dorman, Extension Fisheries Specialist; 870-265-8055; fax 870-265-8060; 523 Hwy 65 & 82, Lake Village, AR 71653; [email protected]. Online Info takes you to the Aquaculture Network Information Center (AquaNIC). leads to the Missouri Alternatives

Center website. magazines: Aquaculture Magazine serves "the international aquaculture industry" with 45 non-ad pages per bimonthly issue, an Annual Products Guide each summer, and the Buyers Guide and Industry Directory each December. Coverage includes all water-grown species: abalone, alligator, baitfish, bay scallop, blue crab, bowfin, carp, catfish, freshwater lobster, hybrid striped bass, mollusks, mullet, oyster, paddlefish, prawn, rainbow trout, salmon, shrimp, soft-shell crabs, striped bass, sturgeon, tilapia, trout, white-fish, and aquaculture science. It's $24 for 6 issues/yr: PO Box 2329, Asheville, NC 28802; 828-254-7334; fax 828253-0677; [email protected]; www. The website includes an online discussion forum, archives of back issues, calendar of events, and weekly updated news items.

Austasia Aquaculture magazine promotes aquaculture in the Australasian and Asian regions. It covers all aspects of this vast industry in that region, including regular columns by industry specialists. Their delightful website is at

Northern Aquaculture is "The Voice of Cold Water Aquaculture in North America since 1985." It's a monthly magazine (Canadian-based): $30/yr. Subscribers also receive a free weekly e-mailed newsletter. The website has Buyers' Guide, Events Calendar, and Aquaculture Jobs sections, etc.:

University and Extension Help: Aquaculture, like the rest of modern agribusiness, is spurred on by university Ph.D.s and USDA researchers and specialists providing tech services to corporate and also independent food growers. It is a huge, profitable, and often very technical part of the food-producing industry. Subscribers to Aquaculture Magazine also get a yearly Buyer's Guide and Industry Directory (300 pp.). This is a great resource for anybody interested in aquaculture, beginner to expert. For example, it lists name, phone number, and often the e-mail address of all the Extension Ageïit aquaculture experts! There are one or more in every state, beginning with Jeff Allred of the Alabama Fish Farming Center (529 Centreville St., Greensboro, AL 36744; 334-624-4016; fax 334-624-4050), and ending with Joe Hiller, U. of Wyoming (PO Box 3354, Laramie, WY 82071-3354; 307-766-5479; fax 307-766-6403; j [email protected] o. edu).

Want to learn this business? Study at the School of Fisheries at the University of Washington, the U. of Idaho, Louisiana State U., Auburn U., or Texas A&M at Corpus Christi (361-825-2676; All have outstanding aquaculture programs.

Since 1980, the U.S. government has heavily funded aquaculture research and development. There are five regional centers from which these funds and services are administered:

Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture: The

Oceanic Institute, 808-259-3168; fax 808-259-8395; 41-202 Kalanianaole Hwy., Waimanalo, HI 96795; North Central Regional Aquaculture Center: Michigan State U„ 517-353-1962; fax 517-353-7181; 13 Natural Resources Bldg., East Lansing, MI 48824-1222; Northeast Regional Aquaculture Center: U. of Massachusetts Dartmouth; 508-999-8157; fax 508-999-8590; 285 Old Westport Rd., Research 201, N. Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300; NRAC.

Southern Regional Aquaculture Center: 662-686-3285; fax 662-686-3569; 127 Experiment Station Rd., PO Box 197, Stone ville, MS 38776;

Western Regional Aquaculture Center: 206-543-4290; fax 206-685-4674; School of Fisheries, U. of Washington, Box 357980, Seattle, WA 98195; Books and Pamphlets: Fundamentals of Aquaculture, by James Avault, Jr., is a 900+-page step-by-step guide to commercial aquaculture covering pond construction, feeding, disease control, etc., available from AVA Publishing (see book dealers). Two British books are Fish Farming, by C. F. Hicklin, and Backyard Fish Farming, by Bryant, Jauncey, and Atack. Gene Logsdon's Getting Food from Water: A Guide to Backyard Aquaculture is an American classic. He covers beach harvesting, pond building, stream management, pond fish management, waterfowl, garden pools, etc. Aquaculture: The Farming and Husbandry of Freshwater and Marine Organisms, by Bardach, McLarney, and Ryther, is an older, in-depth book. A Fish and Vegetable Grower for All Seasons, by Robert E. Huke and Robert W Sherwin, covers the aqua-culture/solar greenhouse (raising vegetables) combo.

Other books: Farming the Waters by Peter Limburg; The New Field Book of Freshwater Life by Elsie B. Klots; World Fish Farming: Cultivation and Economics by E. Evan Brown; Trout Farming Handbook by S. Dumond Sedgwick; Koi of the World: Japanese Colored Carp by Dr. Herbert Axelrod; Creative Fishing by Charles J. Farmer; Fish and Invertebrate Culture by S. Spotte; Home Aquaculture: A Guide to Backyard Fish Farming by S. D. Van Gorder and D. J. Strange. Aquaculture Book Dealers Aquatic Eco-Systems: 407-886-3939 or 800-422-3939; fax 407-886-6787; 1767 Benbow Court, Apopka, FL 32703; Aquatic Promotions: 305-247-0460; PO Box 700166, Miami, FL 33170-0166; AVA Publishing: 225-763-9656; fax 225-766-0728; PO Box 84060, Baton Rouge, LA 70884-4060; [email protected]; Miami Aqua-culture: 305-262-6605; fax 305-262-6701; 4606 SW 74 Ave., Miami, FL 33155; Seacoast Information Services: 401-364-9916; fax 401364-9757; 135 Auburn Dr., Charlestown, RI 02813; Aquaculture can be done in the city too! Read The Integral Urban House, an account of a 2-story Berkeley house that the Farallones Institute turned into a center to demonstrate "urban-scale appropriate technology" —including a 2,000-gallon concrete pool in the backyard containing black bullhead catfish, bluegills, and Sacramento catfish, with the power for water filtration and recycling provided by a windmill-operated pump.

Continue reading here: Mariculture

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