Anticipating the growth of an ocean aquaculture industry. Academic Article uri icon


  • In assessing the future expansion of aquaculture in coastal-ocean environments, most studies focus only on the constraint posed by the local environmental assimilative capacity. In open-ocean environments, however, the assimilative capacity is difficult to gauge. We develop an alternative economic approach for projecting the growth of the open-ocean aquaculture industry. We evaluate equilibria in the market far seafood, where the product may be supplied either by a wild-harvest fishery or open-ocean aquaculture or both. In our framework, the net demand for farmed fish determines the size of the aquaculture industry and, in turn, the levels of pollution discharges. We illustrate our approach with a case study of a groundfish fishery and the proposed open-ocean aquaculture of Atlantic cod in New England. We find that, for a range of competitive production costs for aquaculture, the optimal industry structure would comprise both a wild-harvest fishery and aquaculture.

publication date

  • January 2007