In the last decades marine aquaculture (mariculture) has grown at an average of 9% per year. Considering the rising demand for fish and the over-exploitation of global fish stocks, a further growth of mariculture is not in doubt. However, the growth of conventional mariculture systems along the coasts will be limited and the future demand can be only satisfied by new concepts and technologies.
Conventional mariculture systems, as for instance cage farms, represent a potential danger for the surrounding ecosystems, if planning and management are insufficient. Cages for fish farming (e.g. Salmon, Seabream or Seabass) along the coasts are criticized more and more by the public. The arguments against these systems continue to be the pollution by waste and nutrients, the escape of farmed fish, the possibility of transmitting diseases to wild populations and the discharge of operating supplies.
The environmental aspect must be also considered from another point of view. According to a statistic from the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) about the anthropogenic influences on coastal areas by urbanization and industrialization, nearly 80% of European coasts are classified as endangered. The worldwide increasing use and pollution of coastal areas is leading to considerable site problems for aquaculture, which can also be negatively influenced by other users.
Therefore, the future development of mariculture will focus on land-based recirculating aquaculture systems. These enable an intensive and therefore efficient production of aquatic organisms. At the same time the coastal ecosystems are protected.