Aquaculture Awareness Week: 10 Facts about California Aquaculture

Media Contacts:
Carol Singleton, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8962
Randy Lovell, CDFW Aquaculture Coordinator, (916) 445-2008

California aquaculture produces a variety of products.
California aquaculture produces a variety of products.

In recognition of Aquaculture Awareness Week, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) offers 10 interesting facts that show how aquaculture – the practice of farming aquatic organisms – affects every Californian.

  1. California aquaculture industry is diverse, providing much more than just food for dinner. It also produces aquatic pets such as goldfish and koi, algae for biofuels, zebrafish for biomedical research, spirulina for vitamin supplements and more.
  2. California’s 150 registered aquaculturists aren’t just located on the shoreline. You’ll find them throughout the state — from the high Sierra to inland valleys, from the deserts to the coast. They operate in 50 of the state’s 58 counties, accounting for some $140 million in economic benefit.
  3. The California Shellfish Initiative is a collaborative effort among government and private partners to help local growers meet the increasing demand for shellfish, thus decreasing the need for imports and lowering our carbon footprint. California shellfish aquaculture contributes $25 million to the economy, providing jobs and resilient working waterfronts.
  4. California’s oyster growers are collaborating with scientists to find solutions to ocean acidification, which is killing off baby oysters at an alarming rate.
  5. Commercial oysters and other bivalve shellfish help to filter and clean coastal waters. In turn, they rely on clean, healthy water for survival.
  6. Sacramento is the caviar capital of the United States, providing approximately 85 percent of the country’s supply of the delicacy.
  7. California’s first fish and game law, enacted in 1851, concerned oyster aquaculture and arose from an era when oyster piracy was a growing problem in San Francisco. Jack London’s Tales from The Fish Patrol described the early days of fish and game wardens.
  8. It takes a fraction of the resources (food, water and space) to produce one pound of farm-raised fish than it does to produce one pound of beef, making aquaculture an ideal source of protein for the world’s rapidly growing population.
  9. Aquaponics, which uses fish waste to fertilize plants in a recirculating system, is growing in popularity in California as a new drought-friendly approach to food production.
  10. Aquaculture techniques pioneered in California are a critical tool in the restoration of at-risk species including trout, salmon, abalone, sturgeon and white seabass.

For more information about California aquaculture, visit www.aquaculturematters.ca.gov.

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