Aquaculture: Environmental, toxicological, and health issues

Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2009 Jul;212(4):369-77. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2008.08.003. Epub 2008 Sep 13.


Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food-producing sectors, supplying approximately 40% of the world's fish food. Besides such benefit to the society, the industry does have its problems. There are occupational hazards and safety concerns in the aquaculture industry. Some practices have caused environmental degradation. Public perception to farmed fish is that they are "cleaner" than comparable wild fish. However, some farmed fish have much higher body burden of natural and man-made toxic substances, e.g. antibiotics, pesticides, and persistent organic pollutants, than wild fish. These contaminants in fish can pose health concerns to unsuspecting consumers, in particular pregnant or nursing women. Regulations and international oversight for the aquaculture industry are extremely complex, with several agencies regulating aquaculture practices, including site selection, pollution control, water quality, feed supply, and food safety. Since the toxicological, environmental, and health concerns of aquaculture have not been adequately reviewed recently, we are providing an updated review of the topic. Specifically, concerns and recommendations for improving the aquaculture industry, and for protection of the environment and the consumers will be concisely presented.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aquaculture / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Aquaculture / methods*
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Consumer Product Safety / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Environment*
  • Environmental Exposure / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Fishes* / genetics
  • Food Contamination* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Government Regulation
  • Humans
  • Nutritive Value
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Seafood / standards*
  • Seafood / toxicity