What is the Difference Between Aquaculture and Fisheries

The main difference between aquaculture and fisheries is that aquaculture or fish farming is the natural or controlled cultivation of fish, shellfish, and seaweed in both freshwater and marine water, whereas fisheries involve catching wild fish or harvesting fish through aquaculture.

Aquaculture and fisheries are two management systems to produce fish. They involve in the cultivation and trading of fish and aquatic products.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Aquaculture
– Definition, Facts, Features
2. What are Fisheries
– Definition, Facts, Features
3. Similarities Between Aquaculture and Fisheries
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Aquaculture and Fisheries
– Comparison of Key Differences
5. FAQ – Aquaculture and Fisheries
– Answers to frequently asked questions

Key Terms 

Aquaculture, Fisheries

Difference Between Aquaculture and Fisheries - Comparison Summary

What is Aquaculture

Aquaculture is the process of breeding, rearing, and harvesting shellfish, fish, algae, and other organisms in all types of water environments. Also, aquaculture includes the production of food and other commercial products. Besides, it is also about restoring habitat and replenishing wild stock. Furthermore, it also involves rebuilding populations of endangered and threatened species. Above all, aquaculture is important due to the increased demand for seafood. The technological advancement has made it possible to grow seafood in coastal areas and open oceans.

Compare Aquaculture and Fisheries

Figure 1: Eucheuma Farming, Philippines

Furthermore, marine and freshwater are the two main areas of aquaculture. Marine aquaculture refers to the farming of species that live in the ocean. Numerous species, including fish, such as black sea bass, salmon, sablefish, pompano, and yellowtail, oysters, mussels, clams, shrimp, and seaweeds, are produced in the USA using marine aquaculture. Among many methods of farming marine shellfish, one of the methods is seeding small fish on the sea floor and growing them in bottom or floating cages.

Moreover, catfish and trout are species grown in freshwater aquaculture. They are grown in either ponds or manmade systems.    

What are Fisheries

Fisheries refer to the enterprise of raising or harvesting fish and other aquatic life. Fishing grounds are the sites where fisheries take place. Commercial fisheries include oceans, freshwater water bodies, fish farms, and wild fisheries. Around 500 million people are economically dependent on fisheries worldwide. Complex fisheries management practices and legal regimes govern fisheries due to their importance in both economics and society.

Aquaculture vs Fisheries

Figure 2: Spawning Salmon in Becharof Stream

Moreover, overfishing and environmental issues increase the demand for the regulation of fisheries. Therefore, proper management of fisheries would prevent conflicts and would enable fisheries to become a profitable economic activity.   

Similarities Between Aquaculture and Fisheries

  • Aquaculture and fisheries are two areas that deal with the cultivation and trade of fish and other aquatic products.

Difference Between Aquaculture and Fisheries


Aquaculture refers to the rearing of aquatic animals or the cultivation of aquatic plants for food. In contrast, fisheries refer to a place where fish are reared for commercial purposes.


Aquaculture is the controlled cultivation of aquatic organisms such as fish, while fisheries are the enterprise of raising or harvesting fish and other aquatic life.


Aquaculture involves in all aspects of marine life, while fisheries involve in raising and harvesting fish.


Aquaculture can be mariculture or integrated multi-trophic aquaculture type, while fisheries can be either saltwater, freshwater, wild, or farmed.


Pearls can be produced through aquaculture, while fisheries do not produce pearls.

Sustainment of wild Fish Stock

Aquaculture is a way of sustaining wild fisheries stock, while fisheries do not support the sustainment of fisheries.

FAQ: Aquaculture and Fisheries

What is the difference between pisciculture and fishery?

Pisciculture refers to fish farming. Fisheries are reared areas where fish can be caught. However, both can be integrated activities.

What is the difference between aquaculture and mariculture?

Mariculture is a type of aquaculture. Mariculture operates in brackish water or waters that are a mixture of freshwater and ocean water. It also involves in growing plants, animals, and algae in saltwater.  

What is the difference between aquaculture and marine biology?

Aquaculture is farming in water that involves breeding, developing, and cropping fish, water plants, and shellfish. In comparison, marine biology involves studying marine creatures, their performance, and their association with the environment.


In brief, aquaculture and fisheries are two methods of cultivating and trading fish. Aquaculture is the controlled cultivation of aquatic organisms. It involves all aspects of marine life. Also, it can be either mariculture or integrated multi-trophic aquaculture. However, it is a sustainable way in comparison to fisheries. Pearls can also be harvested in aquaculture. Meanwhile, fisheries involve raising and harvesting fish in either freshwater or saltwater, and it could be wild or farmed. Fisheries is not a sustainable way of catching fish. Therefore, the main difference between aquaculture and fisheries is their aspects.

  1. US Department of Commerce, N. O. and A. A. (2019, April 2). What is aquaculture?. NOAA’s National Ocean Service. 
  2. What is fisheries. IGI Global. (n.d.). 
Image Courtesy:
  1. Eucheuma farming, Philippines (5211726476)” By Derek Keats from Johannesburg, South Africa – Own Work (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia
  2. Becharof Wilderness Salmon” By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Own Work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things. She has a keen interest in writing articles regarding science.

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