Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Marine Affairs and Policy (Marine)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Daniel Benetti

Second Committee Member

Maria Estevanez

Third Committee Member

Gunnar Knapp


While global wild fisheries harvests stable or declining, aquaculture is meeting the demands of a growing global population for more seafood. Aquaculture production has increased dramatically at an average annual rate of 6.2% in the period from 2000 to 2012 (FAO, 2014). Between 2001 and 2011, the share of aquaculture in global fish production as increased from 27.6% to 40.1% (FAO, 2013). Fish farming (aquaculture) has an only a brief history in comparison with meat farming (agriculture). Humans have been engaged in agriculture throughout all of recorded human history, while large scale aquaculture has arisen only over the last fifty years. This difference in history has important implications for how fish farming is perceived and regulated when compared to meat farming. Though aquaculture and agriculture are similar industries, agriculture has evolved together with human culture, at a time when people had little understanding of how their actions affected the surrounding environment. Though agriculture had dramatic impacts on the environment, these impacts did not challenge the legitimacy of agriculture or bring, until recently, significant regulation to mitigate these impacts. In contrast, aquaculture is developing at a time when its potential impacts are subject to detailed attention, and development is strictly regulated to mitigate these impacts—particularly in developed countries such as the United States. Against this contrasting history and regulation, this thesis compares several aspects of aquaculture, including disease control, the adoption of nanotechnology, and government regulation.


aquaculture; agriculture; comparisons; lessons learned; farming