Skip to main content

Environmental Impact of Aquaculture



Course format On-site
Date 2021-01-04 - 2021-06-18

Objectives and Content

Aquaculture supplies half of the total aquatic products for human consumption at the global scale. However, the production of aquaculture products has direct and indirect impacts on the environment, and the potential for negative impacts on human health. This course introduces the major sources of aquaculture impacts and their effects on the environment. The course will cover a wide spectrum of environmental issues resulting from expanding global aquaculture. These will include the competition for natural resources and the impact of direct organic pollution. Current issues are reviewed, and the risks and benefits of different systems are evaluated. The course will deal in depth with the impact of intensive aquaculture on wild fish populations, including the transfer of disease and parasites (sealice), the impact of escaped fish, and the threats and benefits of GM fish. Additional topics include habitat destruction, sourcing of feeds, antibiotic use, introduced species, and consumer knowledge.

The course content is based on lectures, selected reading material, and presentations by active researchers in the field. Learning activities include student-led discussions and short investigations. The evaluation of scientific literature and popular media is emphasized to encourage the development of critical thinking and the ability to articulate evidence-based opinions.


Recommended Previous Knowledge

Basic subjects of Bachelor's in Biology, previous knowledge of aquatic systems and fish biology is an advantage

Learning outcomes

The course aims to give the students an understanding of the impact of aquaculture on a global scale.

On completion, students

  • will be able to identify and discuss the major biological impacts, including effects on surrounding biota and potential human health impacts
  • will be able to identify and discuss the major physical impacts, including spatial spatial conflicts linked to aquaculture sites
  • will be able to identify and discuss the major sources and effects of chemical and nutrient inputs to the environment
  • will be familiar with selected monitoring and management tools and updated trends in technological solutions
  • will demonstrate critical thinking applied to sources of information about aquaculture impacts by finding relevant sources of information on aquaculture impacts representing different viewpoints
  • Will be able to evaluate quality of information from scientific and general sources
  • Will be able to develop an independent opinion on relevant issue, based on scientific information
  • Will be able to express own opinion in a clear and concise manner, with correct notation of source material


ISCED Categories

Conservation and environmental management