Aquaculture pressure

‘Aquaculture effort’ and ‘aquaculture production’ are suggested indicators for State of the Environment reporting (e.g. Indicator’s 4.1 and 4.2 respectively in the Estuaries and the Sea volume)1). Aquaculture effort includes the number of aquaculture operations in Australia and the area occupied by each operation1). Aquaculture production is a measure of the annual production of the top 25 most valuable cultured species (fish, invertebrates and plants), and the potential for the production of these species to impact upon the environment1).

Photo of oyster leases at Wallis Lake, NSW

Photo 1. Oyster leases at Wallis Lake, NSW (photo by Dave Ryan)


Issues arising from intensive aquaculture

Aquaculture operations may pose a threat to native species and biodiversity due to:

  • habitat modification;
  • the spread of diseases into wild populations; and because
  • escapees may out-compete native species (in the case of exotic species) or modify existing gene pools (in the case of indigenous species).

Aquaculture is also a point source of nutrients and organic matter in the coastal zone, and may cause local eutrophication and related problems. Follow this link for a discussion of the economic consequences of aquaculture.


Existing information and data

More information on aquaculture effort and production (e.g. reporting scales, outputs, analysis and interpretation and data sources) can be found in the Estuaries and the Sea volume of Environmental Indicators for National State of the Environment Reporting1).

  1. Ward, T., Butler, E. and Hill, B. 1998. Environmental Indicators for National State of the Environment Reporting, Estuaries and the Sea, Commonwealth of Australia, pp. 81.(