Aquaculture also known as Aquafarming is the farming of fish, crustaceans, mollusks, aquatic plants, algae, and other organisms. Aquaculture involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions, and could be contrasted with commercial fishing, which is the harvesting of wild fish. Mari-culture refers to aquaculture practiced in marine environments and in underwater habitats. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), aquaculture is understood to mean the farming of aquatic organisms including fish, mollusks, crustaceans and aquatic plants.
Farming implies some form of intervention in the rearing process to enhance production, such as regular stocking, feeding, protection from predators, etc. Farming also implies individual or corporate ownership of the stock being cultivated. The reported output from global aquaculture operations in 2014 supplied over one & half of the fish and shellfish that is directly consumed by humans. However, there are issues about the reliability of the reported figures. Further, in current aquaculture practice, products from several pounds of wild fish are used to produce one pound of fish like salmon.
Aquaculture in India is a major industry in its coastal states, employing over 14 million people. In 2016-17, the country exported 11,34,948 metric tons of seafood worth US$ 5.78 billion (₹37,870.90 crore), frozen shrimp being the top item of export. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, fish production has increased more than tenfold since 1947 and doubled between 1990 and 2010.
India has 8129 Kilometers (5,051 Mi) of marine coastline, 3827 fishing villages and 1914 traditional fish landing centers. India's fresh water resources consist of 195,210 Kilometers (121,300 Mi) of rivers and canals, 2.9 million hectares of minor and major reservoirs, 2.4 million hectares of ponds and lakes, and about 0.8 million hectares of flood plain wetlands and water bodies. As of 2014, the marine and freshwater resources offered a combined sustainable catch fishing potential of over 6 million metric tons of fish.
In addition, India's water and natural resources offer a tenfold growth potential in aquaculture (farm fishing) from 2010 harvest levels of 3.9 million metric tons of fish, if India were to adopt fishing knowledge, regulatory reforms and sustainability policies.