Aquaculture is the controlled cultivation of aquatic animals and plants. It refers to the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of plants and animals in all types of water environments, including tanks, ponds, rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Aquaculture is used for a variety of purposes including producing seafood for human consumption; enhancing wild fish, shellfish, and plant stocks for harvest; restoring threatened and endangered aquatic species; producing sportfish and baitfish for commercial and sport fisheries; and providing fish for aquariums.
Globally, aquaculture supplies more that 50 percent of all seafood produced for human consumption Worldwide, aquaculture has been the fastest growing segment of agriculture for the last decade. There is aquaculture in some form or another in all 50 states. The largest production states for marine aquaculture are Maine, Washington, Virginia, Louisiana, and Hawaii. The largest states for freshwater aquaculture are Mississippi (catfish) and Idaho (trout).
The aquaculture industry in the Great Lakes region is not large compared to other areas in the United States. The aquaculture industry includes both private and public (state-owned) fish farms. Currently, Michigan's aquaculture industry is comprised of farms raising fish for use as bait, stocking ponds, fee fishing, and a small number growing fish for food production. As of 2015, Michigan had 43 active registered aquaculture facilities including:
- 24 pond systems
- 14 flow-through systems
- 5 recirculating systems