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Ambio. 2009 Feb;38(1):24-8.

Alien species in aquaculture and biodiversity: a paradox in food production.

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  • 1Network of Aquaculture Centers in Asia-Pacific, School of Life & Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Victoria, Australia.


Aquaculture is seen as an alternative to meeting the widening gap in global rising demand and decreasing supply for aquatic food products. Asia, the epicenter of the global aquaculture industry, accounts for over 90% of the global aquaculture production quantity and about 80% of the value. Asian aquaculture, as with global aquaculture, is dependent to a significant extent on alien species, as is the case for all the major food crops and husbanded terrestrial animals. However, voluntary and or accidental introduction of exotic aquatic species (alien species) is known to negatively impact local biodiversity. In this relatively young food production industry, mitigating the dependence on alien species, and thereby minimizing potential negative impacts on biodiversity, is an imperative for a sustainable future. In this context an attempt is made in this synthesis to understand such phenomena, especially with reference to Asian inland finfish, the mainstay of global aquaculture production. It is pointed out that there is potential for aquaculture, which is becoming an increasingly important food production process, not to follow the past path of terrestrial food crops and husbanded animals in regard to their negative influences on biodiversity.

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