When Farming Is Good For Biodiversity

Mariko Wallen and Louis Godfrey tend to the seaweed on their farm in Placencia, Belize. This farm grows two species: Eucheuma (for consumption) and Gracilaria (used for skin treatments and cosmetics). The farm is part of a program sponsored by TNC to bring seaweed aquaculture to the area in cooperation with the Placencia Fishermen Cooperative.

Thanks to the Nature Conservancy’s Cool Green Science website for this:

Aquaculture Adds Value to Habitat

Bivalve and seaweed farming systems result in measurable increases in fish and invertebrate abundance and diversity, new research from The Nature Conservancy, University of New England, University of Melbourne, and the University of Adelaide finds.

The Gist

In the first comprehensive global review of studies quantifying the habitat benefits of mussel, oyster, clam, and seaweed farms, scientists found that these food production systems had a positive impact on marine habitat value in comparison to sites without farms. However, different aquaculture species and farming methods provided different outcomes. Aquaculture of bivalves – two-shelled animals like mussels, oysters, and clams – seems to provide habitat more effectively than aquaculture of seaweeds, though there is less research available reflecting the impact and benefits of the highly diverse seaweed farming methods and species.

“Unfortunately, aquaculture can have a history of mismanagement. With better research and understanding, we are beginning to recognize the full scope of benefits from aquaculture such as shellfish and seaweed farming, which will advance/improve our planning and practices” says Tiffany Waters, TNC’s Global Aquaculture Manager…

Read the whole article here.

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