When we look back through the history of aquaculture, the practice dates back approximately 4,000 years to China and 3,500 years to Mesopotamia. In ancient China, during the Eastern Han dynasty (25 to 250 AD), the combined production of rice and fish was documented. There are also reports that aquaculture was carried out by the Romans, Egyptians, Eurasian and American cultures. Interestingly, one of the first pieces of evidence of the reproduction of the Nile Tilapia in captivity irrigation ponds was from paintings from Theban, Egypt, dating back to 1500 BC.
Today, aquaculture is more than pond fish farming, as it involves the production, reproduction and management of living resources in a restricted environment.
According to The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), aquaculture is "the exploitation of aquatic organisms, including fish, molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic plants."
Much is known about the cultivation of Tilapia to date, but what is its future?
This topic will be addressed by Greg Lutz, Professor of Aquaculture at Louisiana State University.
After earning his PhD from LSU, Dr. Lutz planned, designed and subsequently supervised the construction, outfitting and operation of the largest commercial aquaculture facility in the state of Louisianas. To date he has authored over 280 scientific, extension and popular publications.
He has worked with a number of aquatic species, and visited 24 countries to date for aquaculture-related activities. The author of Practical Genetics for Aquaculture (Wiley), Dr. Lutz has visited and worked with tilapia farms and hatchery operations on 5 continents.
Additionally he has been involved with catfish production, inland recreational fisheries (an estimated 120,000 private ponds exist in Louisiana), inland commercial fisheries and a variety of aquatic ecology topics.
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