Aquaculture and Aquaponics

Aquaculture and Aquaponics

Aquaculture: Southern Region Resources in Aquaponics, Alternative Fish Farming, and Aquatic Products

Aquaculture -- the farming of aquatic organisms -- is a $1.4 billion industry throughout the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture 2013 Census. Here in the Southern region, the value of aquaculture products -- including food fish, baitfish, shellfish, and other aquaculture products -- amounts to around $26 million.

This topic room includes a collection of educational materials, such as articles and videos, developed out of SARE-funded aquaculture research for those interested in fish farming, or incorporating fish into a crop production system.

Commercial aquaculture is a solid, traditional industry. However, interest is growing in the areas of alternative fish farming, small-scale aquaculture and water gardening, also known as aquaponics. Aquaculture is an attractive alternative farming enterprise for many farmers for a number of reasons. Pond-raised operations, such as catfish and shrimp, can provide additional on-farm profits. Aquaponics systems allow farmers to integrate fish farming with crop production, generating unique operations that involve water conservation, nutrient management, and multiple value-added products. Fish waste, in particular, is growing in popularity as a soil amendment in vegetable crop production.

As interest in small-scale aquaculture, pond operations, and aquaponics grows, the need to provide unbiased, educational resources on such alternative farming enterprises increases. SARE has a long history of supporting aquaculture and aquaponics through grant-funded projects and practical resources that focus on improving the sustainability of fish production systems, reinforce a sustainable relationship between animals and the environment, and aid farmers and ranchers in profitable marketing and value-added activities and products.

Dig Deeper: SARE Database | Additional Resources | Photos

Polyculture and Reservoir Ranching


The purpose of this fact sheet is to describe two production systems, polyculture and reservoir ranching, that show promise of becoming popular methods for increasing fish production and profits in inland waters compared to a traditional monoculture system.

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Economic Analysis of Commercial Aquaponic Production Systems


Three case studies of aquaponic production systems in Texas, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands that show commercial aquaponics systems can be economically viable options for producers.

Southern SARE Articles


Fish Waste Compost Proves Beneficial to South Carolina Garden Co-op


Tomatoes and cucumbers benefit from fish waste compost in funded study.

Southern SARE Videos

Is Fish Waste Compost Worth the Mess and Effort?


A South Carolina farmer discusses the results of using fish waste compost in vegetable production.

Making Fish Waste Compost


A South Carolina farmer discusses the process he used to make fish waste compost.


What is a Topic Room?

The SARE websites contain hundreds of reports, books and other information materials on a wide range of topics. To help make sense of it all, SARE created Topic Rooms, a carefully organized collection of select, mostly SARE-based information on important topics in sustainable agriculture.


Resources from Other SARE Regions

North Central SARE

Aquaponics in School

NC Aquaponics

This From the Field profile addresses aquaponics in the schools as one way of rethinking urban agriculture.


NC aquaponics brief sheet

This fact sheet cover information related to the cultivation of fish and aquatic animals and plants.

Farmer Adds Value by Adding Prawn and Trout

NC aquaculture profile

This From the Field profile highlights a Missouri farmer's efforts to add value to his farming operation through aquaculture.

For more aquaculture resources from across the country, visit the national SARE Learning Center.

Are you an ag educator or farmer interested in sharing the Aquaculture Topic Room at an event? Consider using this one-page flyer (PDF).